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Straight Talk for Living with Braces

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6 Tips for living with braces

Braces are more than just an adolescent rite of passage to straighten teeth-- they also can help prevent health problems, including chronic gum disease, facial pain , even gastrointestinal difficulties from poorly chewed food . And braces aren’t just for teenagers anymore -- more and more adults are sporting sparkly smiles . Here are 6 helpful tips for living with braces.

  1. Eating with Braces
    Don’t let braces get in the way of culinary adventures! There are a few obvious foods to steer clear of, including gum, hard candy, or anything excessively sticky . Popcorn and hard nuts can be problematic, too. But most crunchy foods are fine -- slice up bite-size pieces and you’re good to go.
  2. Play Sports with a Mouthguard for Braces
    Don’t worry: braces won’t keep you on the bench . A simple plastic mouthguard will keep teeth (and gums!) protected from any flying balls, sticks, or elbows.
  3. Dental Care with Braces
    Brushing, flossing, and rinsing your teeth doesn’t need to take longer with your hardware -- but you do need to employ slightly different techniques. Use a regular soft toothbrush to brush each tooth in up-and-down strokes, then use a proxabrush to tackle the space between two braces. Thread floss in between the wires, and pull gently so as not to dislodge any braces. Follow up with a disinfecting mouthwash.
  4. Add Personality with Colored Braces
    Remember hearing tinsel teeth in the schoolyard? Today braces come in every color of the rainbow . Some kids pick one color for the top and another for the bottom; others pick a repeating pattern. You can also kick it old school with silver braces and go wild with colored bands.
  5. Nearly-invisible Braces
    Not into neon? Keep your braces on the down-low with nearly invisible options. Ceramic braces blend in with your tooth enamel, some options are entirely clear (and removable!), and lingual braces are attached on the inside of your teeth . These options come with their own challenges, but for some the benefit of not being seen is worth it.
  6. Wear your Retainer & Keep it Clean
    When your braces come off, you’re in the home stretch -- but you still need to wear your retainer faithfully to keep your teeth in place. Generally you’ll wear your retainer for as long as you had braces -- full-time at first, then only at night. Keep your retainer fresh -- soak it in denture cleaner at least once a week . Teeth can bounce back to their original positions more easily than you think, so be diligent. Your mouth, and your orthodontist, will thank you.

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