The ideal time for people to get braces is in their teenage years, between the ages of 10 and 14, when their jaw and teeth are still developing. Today, however, more and more people are embracing the power of braces to correct orthodontic issues and fix their smile in their adult years. Such issues can include teeth overcrowding, overbites, underbites, crossbites and others. That said, your braces are only as effective as your determination to regularly maintain and clean them. While at first getting your braces may feel uncomfortable, proper care and time will help you get used to them The following steps are essential for taking care of your braces. 

Maintaining a healthy diet

Whether someone has braces or not, they should limit the amount of highly acidic, sugary and starchy foods they consume. Soft drinks, fruits like pineapples and oranges, vinegar and similar food stuff can damage your teeth's enamel, which is generally bad for your oral hygiene and health. A preferable diet would include low acidity products such as bananas, meat, egg, pasta and more. 

People with braces also need to pay attention to the hardness of the food they eat. Extremely hard food like candy, nuts and popcorn can get easily jammed in the braces, causing them to break or malfunction. While soft food is preferable, extremely chewy or sticky food such as chewing gum should also be avoided, as these can also be caught in the apparatus. 

Finally, while not dietary per say, you should also ensure you're using plenty of fluoride. When brushing your teeth, for example, only use toothpastes with high fluoride contents. This slows down the process of tooth decay. 

Cleaning your braces

In order to keep your braces clean and functioning, you'll have to wash them at least once a day. After removing your braces' elastics, use a soft toothbrush or an efficient electric toothbrush to gently scrub the braces back and forth, paying particularly close attention to any hard to reach gaps. This is where food particles are most likely to be hiding. Once this is completed, inspect your braces and be on your way.

Obviously, you'll need to maintain regular oral hygiene practices as well. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, and go for a check up with your dentist every few months. Depending on your dentist's diagnosis, you should be able to have your braces removed between 12 and 24 months after getting them. For more information, contact companies like Perfect Smiles Orthodontics.