Braces can be used to correct misaligned teeth, irregular tooth gapping and bite problems such as overbites and underbites among other tooth alignment issues. Orthodontic treatments are more common in children and teens, but a significant number of adults still go it. This article highlights a few practices that can help you to maintain good oral health while you have braces.

1. Regular oral hygiene

People with braces should brush their teeth using a fluoride-rich toothpaste after every meal and floss thoroughly every day. Brush horizontally at the top and bottom of the braces to get into the wires and brackets properly. You can also brush after snacking when possible. If unable to brush (such as in the middle of the day away from home), talk to your orthodontist about getting a fluoride rinse and also rinse down food with plenty of water.

2. Diet

Avoid taking too much sugar especially when you can't brush right after. Sugar provides a ready energy source for bacteria in the mouth and can increase plaque buildup and eventual decay or cavities. You should also avoid overly chewy or sticky foods such as gummy bears, chewing gum or caramel. Be careful when eating foods that may stick to the braces or hard foods. Cut tough meat cuts, apples or raw carrots into small pieces. In the initial days after brace-fitting, a soft diet is recommended.

3. Dental check-ups

For the duration of treatment, you should maintain your dental check-up schedule (twice a year unless there's a problem or your orthodontist advises otherwise). During these visits, your teeth can be cleaned properly in the hard-to-reach braced areas to ensure you don't risk periodontal disease, gingivitis or cavities.

4. Normal activities

In the beginning, you may experience a little tenderness and discomfort as your mouth gets accustomed to having braces. However, any contact activities such as sports and playing certain instruments should be eased into carefully. Wear a mouthguard for contact sports to prevent injury. Keep foreign objects out of your mouth – fingernails, pencils, pens, sticks etc. – and avoid fiddling with your braces.

5. Mouth discomfort

If you get any ulcers in your mouth or feel like there are sharp bits feeling rough on your cheeks and/or lips, you can use the wax that comes with your braces to seal the sharp bits. Simply dry the area, take a tiny piece of wax, roll it between two fingers until it warms up and then mould it around the area. However, this should only be temporary until you can see your orthodontist to rectify the problem.

For more information about orthodontics, contact a local professional.