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    Caring for Teeth With Braces and Retainers

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    Playing Sports While Wearing Braces

    You can continue to participate in any sport if you have braces. When playing sports where there is a possibility of getting hit in the mouth, you'll need to wear a specially designed mouthguard. The mouthguard, made of durable plastic, is designed to fit comfortably over braces and will protect the soft tissues inside your mouth.

    What to Do If a Bracket or Wire Breaks

    Broken braces, loose bands, or protruding wires can cause problems but rarely require emergency treatment. However, do call your orthodontist to set up an office visit to fix the problem. If you suffer a more severe mouth or facial injury, seek immediate help. Here's some tips to get through some of the more common problems until you are able to see your orthodontist:

    • Loose brackets. Apply a small piece of orthodontic wax to temporarily reattach loose brackets or place wax over the bracket to provide a cushion between the bracket and your gums and other soft tissues of the mouth. Your orthodontist usually provides orthodontic wax to you when you first get braces.
    • Loose bands. These will need to be replaced or recemented into place. Save the band and schedule an appointment for the repair.
    • Protruding or broken wire. Use an eraser end of a pencil to move the wire to a less bothersome position. If you can't move it out of the way, apply a small amount of orthodontic wax over the protruding end. Do not attempt to cut the wire because you might accidentally swallow it or inhale it into your lungs. If a mouth sore develops from the wire poking the inside of your mouth, rinse your mouth with warm salt water or an antiseptic rinse. An over-the-counter dental anesthetic can also be applied to numb the area.
    • Loose spacers. These will need to be repositioned or replaced if they slip or fall out completely.

    Other Problems With Braces and Retainers

    Because braces and retainers brush up against the inside surface of the mouth, you may be more prone to developing canker sores. If a canker sore develops, your orthodontist or dentist may prescribe a corticosteroid ointment or a prescription or nonprescription solution to reduce the pain and irritation and help heal the sore.


    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Michael Friedman, DDS on January 21, 2015
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    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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