La Grange, IL – You’ve just finished eating a massive holiday meal. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry jelly, and a roll slathered in butter – and that’s just what’s caught in the top portion of your braces. Like most orthodontic patients, you probably find yourself asking:
Isn’t there a way to get through the busiest shopping (and eating) days of the year without having to dig food out of your brackets every five minutes?
Drs. Battistoni and Beam of Battistoni and Beam Orthodontics serving La Grange, Oak Park, and Countryside say that keeping your braces clean during the holidays is as easy as being prepared.
Always Be Prepared
The best orthodontists say that carrying a travel toothbrush and floss kit everywhere you go will save you whenever you’re planning to eat big and smile later.
“From restaurants to family member’s houses and everywhere in between, patients can excuse themselves to the bathroom and conduct a quick rinse, brush and floss before rejoining their group. It’s the perfect way to keep braces clean during the holidays,” Dr. Beam said.
The doctors recommend rinsing with warm water or an over-the-counter mouth rinse before brushing. “Give your mouth a good swish to get rid of any bits of matter that may be stuck in between the brackets and wires,” says Dr. Battistoni. Think of it as rinsing the food off a plate before you give it a good washing.
When it comes to brushing, Dr. Battistoni says to “brush thoroughly and carefully to ensure that all areas around your braces have been cleaned properly.” He recommends a trick, which is to spend ten seconds on each tooth, paying extra attention to those teeth that touch any part of your braces.
The doctors say that vigilant orthodontic patients can buy specialized toothbrush heads that are designed to clean between the individual parts of braces, which can be extra useful during the holiday season.
Flossing is also recommended to keep food from becoming lodged between teeth. Braces wearers can be extra susceptible to tooth decay if the teeth aren’t properly cleaned during orthodontic treatment. Floss-threaders can help to get in between the brackets and wires, and oral irrigators can help to loosen clumps of food that may have become stuck between teeth.
What About Foods That Aren’t Braces-Friendly?
You might be able to easily refrain from eating nuts, popcorn, licorice, candy and caramel during any other time of the year. But during the holidays, both teens and adults can fall victim to the cravings that can result from being faced with these savory treats on the dinner table.
Drs. Battistoni and Beam recommend eating these types of food with caution. “Think about the ramifications,” suggests Dr. Battistoni.
“Eat small bites, savor the food and never put unnecessary strain on your braces,” says Dr. Battistoni, “and you’ll get through the holidays with your braces intact.”
When You Dine with a Glass of Wine
If you’re drinking wine with your holiday meal, don’t swish it around. The high acidity content in wine can eat away at your teeth’s enamel. Drink water between glasses to minimize any damage.
While you can take Invisalign aligner trays out of your mouth to eat your favorite foods, the same care should be taken to rinse, brush, and floss after each meal, and before the aligner trays are put back in.
Not properly rinsing and cleaning the mouth before reinserting the aligners can cause staining. One of the reasons patients like Invisalign is because of their virtually transparent design.
“Keep your Invisalign looking nearly invisible, and you’ll feel confident smiling for those holiday photos after the big meal,” says Dr. Beam.
To schedule a free consultation with a braces or Invisalign orthodontist, contact Battistoni and Beam Orthodontics.
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