On 11 March 2020, the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic, and many countries took immediate measures and locked down the affected cities and areas. As per the latest orthodontic update on the pandemic, several dental care facilities are still closed or providing just minimal dental treatment. This means that you will be on your own if a dental emergency strikes. And though you can’t do much if you end up with a dental or braces problem, you can certainly try to steer clear of it.
I am sharing some important tips that will help you take the best care of your teeth and braces so that you can manage easily without regular orthodontist visits during this period. Read carefully.
Maintain oral hygiene and take good care of your braces.
To prevent dental emergencies from presenting themselves, the first thing you must do is maintain oral hygiene. And since braces are the barriers between you and your teeth, you must clean them thoroughly. Here are a few tips that would help you:
- Brush your teeth at least two times a day – after waking up and before going to bed. Brush each quadrant of your mouth for at least 30 seconds.
- Make sure you are using the right toothbrush that reaches around the brackets and wire of the braces. It is recommended that you use a toothbrush with round bristles.
- Rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash after every meal.
- Use waxed floss since unwaxed floss can get caught between teeth or braces and cause damage. Do not forget to floss under the wire.
- Remove removable parts, such as elastics or bands, every time before brushing your teeth.
- Make it a habit to examine your braces in the mirror after your dental routine to make sure there are no remaining food particles.
Be careful of what you eat.
As soon as you got braces, you must have been suggested to make a few dietary adjustments. But with time, you may have overlooked certain rules. However, as per the orthodontic update on the pandemic, it’s going to be some time before all orthodontic services and consultations become available. So, you need to stay extra cautious of what you eat to avoid any damage to your braces as well as teeth. Let me help you with some dietary advice.
Foods you CAN eat with braces:
- Bread – muffins (without nuts), soft tortillas, pancakes
- Dairy – eggs, soft cheese, milk-based drinks, pudding, cottage cheese, yogurts
- Grains – soft cooked rice, pasta, lentil soup
- Treats – milkshakes, ice cream without nuts, chocolates without caramel and nuts, brownies, peanut butter, soft cookies. Make sure you do not consume a lot of sugar
- Tender meats – meatballs
- Vegetables – beans, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes
- Fruits – bananas, smoothies, fruit juice, berries
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Chewy foods – bagels, pizza crust, licorice, French bread
- Sticky foods – caramel chewing gum, candies, gummy candies
- Crunchy foods – chips, popcorn, ice, lollipops, hard candies, thick pretzels
- Hard foods – nuts, carrots, apples, ribs, chicken wings
Take extra care to prevent braces damage.
Making sure your braces do not break is extra important during this time because you most likely won’t be able to visit an orthodontist if services in your area are shut. Here’s how you can be extra careful:
- Do not brush your teeth incorrectly or too vigorously.
- Do not use a toothpick to clean food particles stuck between brackets and under the wires after a meal.
- Try to avoid sports or be extra careful while playing to avoid blows to the mouth.
- Do not chew on hard or difficult to eat foods such as ice.
- If your braces have removable bands, do not forget to take them out before having a meal. The bands can snap and break while you chew.
- Avoid sugary or carbonated drinks. Too much sugar and acid can damage the glue holding the brackets in their place.
- Remind yourself not to grind teeth if you tend to do it subconsciously.
Thurman Orthodontics will be open as soon as the situation comes under control. Till then, be extra careful and keep smiling!
Dr. Brian Thurman has spent his entire life enjoying all the beauty that California has to offer. A Fresno native, he still escapes to the ocean or the mountains whenever his busy schedule allows. Driven by his love for natural beauty, Dr. Thurman enjoys creating beautiful smiles and healthy bites that last a lifetime. He is proud to be the only Ivy League trained Orthodontist in the Fresno/Clovis area.