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Tips for the Teen With Braces

Wearing braces may not be at the top of a teenager’s list of cool looks, but neither is a lifetime of crooked teeth. Teens who see the big picture and opt for braces now, give themselves the advantage of self-confidence and a healthy smile for many years to come. 

But it takes more than just agreeing to get braces; it takes a little time and attention as well to get the best results. If you want to make sure your teeth straightening efforts aren’t in vain, here are some helpful tips from our experts at LM Orthodontics in McLean, Virginia. We help teens achieve the straight, bright, social-media-worthy smiles they dream of, and make sure they’re comfortable and successful during the process. 

Chew on this, not that

One of the first things you find out when you get braces is that there are certain foods you can’t have. Crunchy foods are at the top of that list, including:

Anything that’s tough or hard to chew should also be avoided. For instance, hard bread rolls, tough beef jerky, or even chewing gum can all damage your braces.

Finally, stay away from sugary foods and soft drinks. The sugar mixes with your saliva and turns it into plaque, which is hard to clean from your teeth when you have braces. 

Stick with softer foods and sugar-free drinks and you’ll avoid some of the complications common to wearing braces, such as broken wires and the need for extra cleaning.

Brush behind your brackets

When you wear braces, you need to add another move to your bruising routine, or at least a new angle. 

In addition to brushing the front of your teeth and brackets, you need to also brush behind them where food particles get stuck. Angle your brush so the bristles slide behind your brackets to make sure it’s all clear.

Flossing is even more important now

You’ve heard it before: Everyone needs to floss every day. But wearing braces makes it a little tricky. 

Get yourself a floss threader to make it easier to insert the floss between the teeth above your brackets. They’re simple to use, inexpensive, and disposable, and they’ll save you a lot of frustration.

Also, use waxed floss. Unwaxed floss tends to get stuck on the wires and brackets.

Deal with discomfort

Although wearing braces isn’t generally considered painful, you may notice some discomfort when you first get them or after an adjustment.

Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can soothe some of the soreness, as can over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen.

Typically, your tongue, cheeks, and lips become accustomed to your braces after a few days or weeks. But if you have pain or a protruding or broken wire, come see us. Sometimes a little bit of wax to cover the area until you get used to your braces is all it takes, but we can make other adjustments to make you more comfortable as well.

Think positive

If you have the right attitude about your braces, you’ll set yourself up for a successful experience. Remember your goal and the long-term effect your braces will have on your life; this is only temporary.

Remember also that braces are incredibly common. You may think people are staring at you, but they’re not. It may take your friends a few days to get used to your new look, but it will soon become a nonissue. Just laugh, smile, and be yourself and you’ll feel back to normal in no time.

Are braces for you?

If you don’t have braces yet but are thinking about getting them, we have lots of choices for you here at LM Orthodontics, including traditional metal braces on the outside of your teeth, lingual braces that your wear on the backside of your teeth, clear aligners, clear braces, and self-ligating braces (the kind that doesn’t need rubber bands).

We’re ready when you are. Just give us a call or sign up for an online virtual consult today.

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