After a couple of years of dealing with braces or trays from an orthodontist, you're now in the clear. Your teeth have finally moved into place, and you can go back to seeing just your regular dentist. Congratulations! But that's not the end of your dental journey at all, and you and your dentist now need to work together to keep your newly straightened teeth from moving around again. Here are some strategies you can use to keep that smile shining.

Don't Go Nuts With Hard Food

By all means, take a bite out of an apple that hasn't been cut up for once, but be careful about eating hard or sticky foods. There will be a tendency to indulge in all the foods or food consumption methods that you had to avoid while wearing braces; this is normal. If you had trays instead of actual brackets, you might find yourself snacking whenever you feel like it now that you aren't beholden to a schedule of wearing the trays. Try to be aware of this. It's nice to have those foods you couldn't before, but if you aren't careful, you could overeat or bite into something that's too hard and hurt a tooth. 

Remember Your Retainer

You're likely going to have a retainer. Yes, you do have to wear it, and you do have to remember to bring it with you on trips. It's not the most fun thing in the world, but it will help prevent your teeth from moving again. Look at it this way—if you don't wear the retainer and your teeth do move, not only will you be making all that work pointless, but your teeth could move in such a way that makes it easier for food to get lodged between your teeth, thus leading to a higher risk of decay.

Address Next-Level Dental Issues

Now you also have to be very careful of anything that could force your teeth to move. Clenching and grinding your teeth in your sleep can force teeth out of alignment a bit, so if you find you're having that problem, get a night guard that protects your teeth. Also have more frequent dental checkups to spot decay earlier.

Life is going to be nicer now that you don't have those frequent appointments and no longer have to care for those braces or trays, but dental health remains important. See your regular dentist for checkups and monitor your teeth for changes. With vigilance, you can keep your post-braces teeth in great shape.