If you have braces, they may become a topic of conversation.  Some people may ask your opinion about them, including how comfortable they are, whether you would recommend them, and so on.  Other people may offer advice about how to care for your teeth while you have them or about which foods are acceptable to eat.  Keep in mind that even when people have the best of intentions, they may offer advice or tips that are less than ideal.  Here are five basic things you need to keep in mind when you have braces.  This is the kind of advice to pass along to others when they ask.

1. Yes, some foods are off-limits – and there’s always a reason.
With most types of braces, certain items will be on a list offoods to avoid.  Although it can be difficult to steer clear of these foods while you have braces, it’s important to do so.  We don’t make these recommendations to make your life miserable or to deprive you of things you really like.  We put foods on this list because they have the potential to damage or break your brackets and/or wires.

2. Brushing and flossing are as important as ever.
You have braces on your teeth to straighten them or correct another type of orthodontic issue, but your braces do not clean your teeth for you.  If you don’t clean them, you may experience tooth decay under your brackets, which can lead to a variety of other issues.  Brush and floss when you wake up, after you eat, and before you go to bed.  Your mouth will feel fresher and cleaner, you won’t have to worry about having food particles stuck in your mouth, and you’ll avoid major dental hygiene problems.

3. Orthodontic appointments don’t replace dental appointments.
Just like braces don’t replace a toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, visits to our office don’t replace dental visits.  They’re as important as ever, or maybe even more important than ever, right now.

4. Braces aren’t forever (but they’ll improve your teeth for the rest of your life).
If you have braces, you’re doing something very important.  You’re improving your oral health, but not just for today or the near future; this improvement will make a positive difference for years and years to come.  When your teeth are straight and healthy, they function better.  They look better, too, but that’s a secondary benefit.

5. Communicate with us.
Communication is an important part of orthodontic treatment.  If you have questions, concerns, problems, or anything else on your mind, please let us know.  Questions help you clarify instructions and avoid confusion.  It’s important to share problems and concerns because some things are not visible to us during your appointment.  For example, if a wire was causing irritation, tell us about it so we can fix it; suffering in silence is never the best option.