Common Bad Habits with Braces

Braces are an orthodontic treatment used to fix several dental disorders, including crooked teeth, overcrowded teeth and bite problems. Most braces need to be worn from between 12 to 24 months to be effective depending on the dental problem. During this time, the wearer needs to follow certain rules to make sure the braces do their job without adding any other problems. You may have seen some people practicing bad habits with braces, but if you want to get the most out of your orthodontic treatment, you should know what these habits are and ways to avoid them.

There are several different types of braces, and each has different care instructions, which includes brushing at least twice every day and flossing at least once. If your teeth do not receive proper care during the time you are wearing braces, it may result in gum disease, cavities and other problems. We highly encourage you to avoid some common bad habits while you are wearing your braces.

Eating Sticky Foods

Sticky foods can wreak havoc on teeth with braces. They can bend or break the wires and brackets and become trapped in the brackets, increasing the chances of decay. If this happens, you will need to make another trip to our office to repair the damage. Sticky foods include chewing gum, caramel, taffy and gumdrops.

Eating Hard Foods

It is recommended to avoid using your teeth on any hard object. This includes eating raw carrots, unless they are shredded, hard candy such as peanut brittle and other nuts. Biting hard objects such as pens and pencils or opening a container with your teeth should also be avoided, if you don’t want to damage your braces. Ice is another item that many people bite and chew. If you have braces, this habit should stop. It is not healthy for anyone’s teeth, but can break brackets and wires.

Nail Biting

Along with eating hard foods, nail biting can bend wires and break brackets. Nail biting may also wear down tooth enamel, which could lead to decay and pain. Regular chewing on your nails can also contribute to crookedness and misalignment.

Drinking Soda and Packaged Juice 

Both sodas and packaged fruit juices have high acidic properties and a lot of sugar. These ingredients are harmful for anyone’s teeth, but are extra harmful for people with braces because the acid stays in the brackets, making them more difficult to clean. If you must drink beverages that are high in acid and sugar, you should rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash immediately afterwards.

Stop Smoking

If you smoke and need to wear braces, it is a good time to quit smoking. Along with dark-colored food such as red wine, coffee and tea and colas, smoking will stain the teeth and some types of braces. It can also result in gum disease. The dark pigment is more easily trapped in the braces and can remain for long periods, causing serious staining. Not only is smoking one of the worst bad habits with braces, but it is also one of the most dangerous habits a person can have.

Avoiding Bad Habits with Braces

Braces are meant to give you a beautiful smile and fix any dental problems you may have. If you avoid a few bad habits while wearing braces, they will have a better chance to be effective. During a consultation at the office of Dr. Brodie Bowman, DMD in Fort Walton Beach or Niceville, you can learn more about the common bad habits to avoid when wearing braces. Contact us today to schedule your orthodontic appointment.