If this is your first winter wearing any type of braces, ’tis the season to be aware of how to maintain them in good shape so you can continue on the journey to your perfect smile.
Because there are usually a lot more indoor parties, events with family and friends that feature special treats, and a temptation to think you deserve to ignore some rules about braces, this is a reminder of what’s on the naughty list. Any of these could break, bend, or damage them (or just make it much harder to clean around the braces):
- Hard foods like nuts, apples, carrots, celery, hard rolls, and foods that require a lot of chewing like corn on the cob and jerky.
- Sticky and hard candies such as gummies, brittle, taffy, and lollipops.
- Coffee, tea, red wine, fruit juices, and sodas can stain teeth, so if you can’t avoid them completely, use a straw and drink water afterwards (brush and floss as soon as you can and don’t think you can just skip this because you are tired and it’s so late).
That leaves plenty of other foods on the nice list, including cheesecake, puddings, soft cookies, chocolates, pies, soft rolls, dairy products, baked potatoes, pasta, cooked vegetables, baked apples, berries, meatloaf, turkey, ham, and tuna, among many others. Indulge yourself, but be smart so as not to set back your orthodontic progress.
Protecting Braces During Winter Activities
Winter is also a time when you will be wearing coats and gloves more often, so be careful not to use your teeth to take them off or pull them on. Likewise, do not open packages or bags using your teeth and don’t chew on pens or your nails.
Winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, hockey, and skating are great ways to exercise and get fresh air, but wear a sports mouthguard that is customized by Dr. Song for your braces, not something that is just over-the-counter and not a personalized fit.
Consistent Dental Visits are Important
Also be sure to have full dental examinations twice-a-year, which will sometimes include a digital x-ray to be sure there are not cavities that cannot be seen in a physical exam or an erosion of the jawbone due to periodontal infection.
Likewise, continue to see your dental hygienist on the recommended schedule, since she has the tools and techniques to do a much more effective job of cleaning than even the most diligent patient can do for themselves.