Successfully wearing braces is not just about straightening teeth but also about improving your smile, and having a healthier mouth. It is important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces and maintain proper oral hygiene during your entire orthodontic treatment. Here are some guidelines to help you keep your mouth healthy.
Brushing and Flossing
When you wear braces it is important to brush and floss after every meal to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment. Skipping brushing and flossing can lead to enamel around the brackets to stain or cause white spots. Plaque—a naturally occurring film of bacteria that forms on the teeth—must be removed to avoid tooth decay and cavities. We can help you choose the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss to help you maintain that bright and healthy smile.
Brushing with Braces:
Brush your teeth gently for two minutes after every meal with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. You may also use a powered toothbrush to enhance the effectiveness of brushing your teeth with braces. Food particles and plaque can easily be trapped when you have braces. Use a circular motion around the gum line for 10 seconds for each tooth, making sure to position the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Slowly brush your teeth’s chewing surfaces and on the inside surface of your teeth using short gently back and forth motions. Brush the roof of your mouth and your tongue to remove germs that are hiding there. Be sure to angle your toothbrush around your brackets or other appliances. Make sure to use a toothbrush to clean your retainer before placing it in your mouth.
Flossing with Braces:
Flossing after every meal around your braces is important to keep your teeth and braces clean and to prevent gum disease and other oral health problems. Carefully pull the floss between the wire and the braces, using a floss threader or special orthodontic floss. Floss carefully around each tooth and the surrounding gum doing one section at a time. Wrap the floss around your pointer fingers of both hands, and keep a few inches of floss taught between them. Gently slide the floss between each tooth using a back and forth motion. Floss the sides of the tooth at the gum line to remove any plaque or food particles. Repeat this process until all your teeth have been flossed. We can also recommend a water flosser to help with those difficult areas to reach in your mouth. After brushing and flossing, make sure to also rinse with water or antiseptic dental rinse.
Eating with Braces
Don’t worry you will still be able to eat many of the foods you enjoy, and will be back eating those snacks that you should avoid while wearing braces in no time! It is important to refrain from eating certain foods to avoid damaging your new braces and appliances. Some foods you should AVOID with braces include:
- Sticky or hard foods like nuts, chewing gum, sticky toffee or carmel candies or hard candies
- Crunchy foods like popcorn, chips or ice
- Chewy food like bagels, or licorice
- Large foods, like corn on the cob or apples which require biting into (it is best to cut these foods up into manageable bite sizes)
Soreness caused by braces and appliances
You may experience some soreness when you first get your braces and appliances. To ease your pain, we recommend dissolving a teaspoon of salt in lukewarm water to swish and gargle with for a few minutes. Do not swallow the saltwater. If the pain is more acute after repeated rinsing, you may also try taking a pain reliever. If your lips, cheeks or tongue become irritated from your new braces, we can provide some wax to put over the braces to lessen the tenderness, while these areas become used to the braces.
Dr. Reese McElveen is a board certified orthodontist and is committed to providing the absolute best in orthodontics in an enthusiastic, friendly environment. Please contact us today at reeseorthodontics.com to see how we can help you have an amazing smile.