Braces can do wonders when correcting crowded, misspaced, and misaligned teeth. They can also fix bite and speech problems. However, the wires and brackets contain many small spaces for food to get trapped and plaque to build. Without the proper techniques, they can impede flossing and brushing as well. Review these tips for how to take care of your braces. While you get your smile fixed, you don’t want to incur new oral health problems that cause their own range of issues.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
Why Caring for Braces is Important
Proper oral hygiene begins and ends with brushing, flossing, and eating the right foods. However, you also have to take proper care of your teeth beyond this schedule, especially if you have braces that can make your brushing and flossing techniques less adequate.
With improper care, braces, which can stay on for up to a year or more, can cause oral health complications. These issues include plaque buildup and discoloration, gum inflammation that can lead to disease, and cavities.
Tips for Proper Oral Care with Braces
Follow these tips for proper oral care while wearing braces to prevent these issues:
There are some basic brushing techniques that already apply to your hygiene routine with or without braces, such as:
- Using a good electric toothbrush
- Making sure to get the back molars
- Brushing for at least 2 minutes
However, you need to further adapt your brushing techniques for braces.
The first step you should take is to remove your elastic bands or other moving parts on your braces before brushing. While brushing, focus on aiming your brush down into the brackets and behind the wires, holding it at a 45-degree angle.
Move your brush in a gentle circular motion and be sure to address all inner and outer surfaces, including the inside texture of your small front teeth. Spend enough time to ensure that you address all surfaces and remove any trapped food debris in the crannies of your braces.
Remember to Floss
Flossing at least once a day remains advice that any dentist will give their patients. With braces, this is just as important if not more so, but it also becomes more complicated. With braces, you need to use a floss threader that allows you to get behind your wires and floss the debris from your gums. Ask your orthodontist how to use these threaders to get behind your braces.
Remember to rinse thoroughly and visually check your braces to make sure you didn’t miss any food.
Buy the Right Oral Care Products
Braces change some of the requirements for your oral care products. However, some basics still apply. Buy toothpaste and mouthwash that kill bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities. These products should also be free of any abrasive chemical ingredients that may damage conventional braces. In terms of floss, make sure to get a smaller thread so you can fit it behind your wires.
In addition, many types of mouthwash include bright dyes to make them more appealing. However, these dyes can stain your braces, particularly the elastic parts. Ask your dentist or orthodontist about how to buy oral care products for your specific braces.
While many diet changes apply to normal tooth care as well, such as limiting your consumption of sugary drinks, braces come with their own restrictions. To protect your archwire, brackets, elastics, and other orthodontic appliances, limit or eliminate these foods from your diet:
- Sticky candies like caramel and taffy
- Popcorn, whose kernels can bend wires
- Nuts, especially almonds, which can break braces
- Chewy bread like tough sourdough or bagels
- Vegetables that are too fibrous, like celery
- Meat with tough gristle or fat such as steak and pork chops
These restrictions may seem tough, but they protect your wires from being bent and your orthodontic visits from increasing. To maximize the effectiveness of your braces and minimize the time you spend in the chair, make these diet changes to protect your investment.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
We hope you have a better understanding of how to take care of your braces. For leading orthodontic care in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic options can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatments are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible care in your area.