The Christmas season is a great time of joy, celebration and often indulgence. However, if you are wearing braces, it’s also a time to be especially mindful of your oral health whilst also enjoying what the holidays have to offer. Whether you have a fixed brace or are using aligners such as Invisalign, taking proper care of your braces and teeth is crucial for a successful orthodontic journey.
We are here to guide you through the necessary steps to take proper care of your teeth and different types of braces, highlighting the key differences between care for fixed braces and aligners. By following these tips and tricks, you can enjoy the festivities as much as possible whilst also ensuring the well-being of your teeth and preventing emergency trips to the orthodontist.
How to take care of braces at Christmas
Caring for Fixed Braces during the Holiday Season
Fixed braces are highly effective for straightening out a range of different alignment issues, but as they feature brackets that are fixed to the surface of your teeth, joined by wires that are tightened and help move your teeth into the intended position, cleaning your teeth is also more difficult and certain foods may lead to damaged braces, slowing down the progress of your treatment.
In order to take good care of fixed braces throughout the festivities, we recommend you follow our recommendations:
- Mindful Eating: With a fixed brace, it's important to be cautious about what you eat to avoid damaging the wires or brackets. Festive foods to try and avoid over Christmas include hard vegetables, hard sweets, toffees, sticky puddings, and other particularly chewy or hard snacks. These foods can potentially damage braces and can lead to discomfort, as well as dislodgement. If you accidentally damage your braces, it’s important to arrange an orthodontic appointment as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage and to help keep your treatment on track.
Whilst it may seem disappointing to be avoiding certain foods, there are so many popular Christmas foods that can be enjoyed. Cheese is a great choice as it is not only high in calcium, it also stimulates saliva flow to help work against sugar and acidic foods that leave their mark on your teeth.
- Oral Hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial when wearing fixed braces. Whilst your daily activities may change, particularly on Christmas day and the days in between Christmas and New Year, it’s important to keep up your normal oral health routine. It’s important to brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, and to floss regularly to help prevent food from getting stuck between the teeth and gums.
- Handling Discomfort: If you have recently had your braces adjusted, it’s normal to feel some discomfort and soreness, but if you are experiencing continued pain that is not alleviated by non-prescription painkillers and is preventing you from enjoying the holidays, it’s important to arrange an appointment with your orthodontist.
Christmas Care for Aligners
Whilst aligners can be removed for eating and cleaning your teeth, it’s important to care for them and your teeth in the same way you normally would for the rest of the year.
- Remove Before Indulging: One of the many advantages of aligners like Invisalign is their removability. This means that you do not need to worry so much about certain hard, sticky and chewy foods. However, it’s important to clean your teeth if possible before you put your aligners back onto your teeth after eating, as certain foods can stain and damage the clear plastic, and bacteria and bits of food left behind can lead to plaque build-up on your teeth.
- Cleaning and Maintenance: Aligners require regular cleaning to prevent bacteria buildup and maintain their clarity. Rinse your aligners with water every night. You can also use a soft bristled toothbrush and a clear liquid soap to gently brush away any food particles or debris that have accumulated during the day. Remember to rinse again after brushing your Invisalign aligners.
In addition to cleaning your aligners, it’s also important to brush your teeth at least twice a day and to use a fluoride toothpaste. You should also use floss or an interdental brush regularly to clean in between the teeth.
- Maintaining Consistency: Consistency in wearing your aligners is key to achieving desired results. Though your routines may change over Christmas, it’s important to ensure that you always wear your aligners for around 22 hours of the day in order to ensure that your teeth straightening treatment stays on track.
Personalised Care Instructions for All Types of Braces
During the Christmas season, it's important to prioritise your oral health, regardless of the type of braces you are wearing. By following the care tips that we outline above, you can have a great Christmas whilst ensuring your teeth stay healthy and your braces are effective in helping you achieve a new smile.
Remember, while the guidelines provided here offer general advice, it is always best to consult with your orthodontist or dentist for personalised care instructions. By taking care of your braces and teeth over the holidays, you can look forward to a confident smile and a healthy mouth in the coming year.
If you have questions about your braces or wish to book an appointment at Dulwich Orthodontics, please get in touch.