When you wear braces – whether metal braces or Invisalign – there are certain rules you must follow. For some people, these rules involve breaking bad habits that could damage your braces and teeth or interfere with your treatment.
1. Using your teeth as a tool.
With or without braces on your teeth, it’s never a good idea to use your teeth as a tool. They already have the important jobs of helping you bite, chew, speak, and keep your face shape. Use scissors and bottle openers to do the work they’re meant to do and leave your teeth to their domain. The last thing you want to do is pop off a bracket or break an aligner.
2. Biting on non-food items.
Your teeth and braces already work hard enough during meals without you gnawing on a pen or pencil or even chewing on straws. Habits like these put unnecessary pressure on your braces, and that includes biting your nails. This bad and gross habit is bad for your braces too. Nail biting can break brackets, bend wires, and damage your teeth by forcing them out of alignment. Don’t ruin all the orthodontic work you’ve had done by chomping on your nails.
3. Chewing on ice.
If you’re someone who loves to chomp on leftover ice in your drink or simply snack on it for fun, break the habit now. This move can snap the brackets off your teeth and break your wires – not to mention damage your tooth enamel in general. No matter what you eat, it’s important to chew slowly and avoid hard foods that could wreak havoc on your hardware and teeth.
4. Eating the wrong foods.
Unless you wear Invisalign and have the freedom to remove your aligners for meals and snacks, you’ll be saddled with food restrictions as a conventional braces-wearer. This means giving up the chewy, hard, and sticky foods you love until your orthodontic treatment is complete. This also means you can’t bite down on certain foods with your front teeth at the risk of damaging your hardware, like apples, bagels, or raw veggies.
5. Brushing too hard.
Brushing your teeth harder is not akin to brushing your teeth better. Force is bad for many reasons and can cause gum recession, enamel erosion, pain, soreness, bleeding, and, in the worst cases, push your brackets off. If you’re worried about food staying stuck in your braces, invest in the tools your orthodontist recommends, like an electric toothbrush and water pik, so you can clean your teeth meticulously without damaging them – or your braces – in the process.
6. Not wearing a mouthguard.
If you play sports and you wear braces, you need a custom-made mouthguard to protect your teeth and hardware from unnecessary damage. You don’t have to quit sports because you’re sporting Invisalign Teen or a metal mouth – just ask your orthodontist about how to protect your mouth effectively before you get on the field, pitch, rink, or track.
Wondering if something is bad for your braces? Always ask your orthodontist for advice and support. Contact us or schedule an appointment with Dr. Soleil Roberts at Soleil Orthodontics in Woodinville, WA.