According to the American Dental Association, most adult teeth erupt between the ages of 6 and 12. When this happens, dentists examine how the molars work with the other teeth and give children a “bite check” to determine whether or not the child’s teeth need treatment.
Braces are a solution that many dentists suggest, as treatment is most effective on children while their mouths are still growing and changing. Most children receive braces between the ages of 8-14.
Below are two lists to help you know what you should and should not do while you are wearing your braces.
- Replace your toothbrush often. Most dentists and orthodontists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months, and this rule-of-thumb doesn’t change once braces are installed. Toothbrushes that are worn or frayed will not clean the teeth as well as a fresh toothbrush.
- Go to all of your orthodontic treatments. Not going to all of your scheduled orthodontic appointments will ultimately make your treatment last longer. If you are anxious to quickly complete your treatment, it is best to do so by going to all of your appointments and following instructions from your orthodontist.
- Keep your teeth clean. Just because your tooth is partially covered by the braces brackets, does not mean that dental hygiene can take a back seat. Dental hygiene is equally, if not more, important to continue while wearing braces. Not properly caring for your teeth while wearing braces could result in an obvious outline of where your brackets were on each tooth.
- Chop up solid foods. Cutting food into small bite-sized pieces decreases the amount of pressure that is put on your teeth when you chew large, solid foods.
- Eat food that could get stuck to your wires. Foods like nuts, corn on the cob, popcorn, ice, chewing gum, or chewy candy may get stuck to your braces, and may even cause brackets to break and have need for replacement. Eating too many sugary foods can lead to tooth decay and your teeth could be permanently damaged or discolored surrounding the bracket.
- Push your teeth out of line. Things like biting nails or playing with your elastics can make your treatment last longer. Chewing on anything but food can also move your teeth just enough to change the length of your treatment.