While you have many options for straightening your teeth, traditional metal braces remain the most common method. They use stainless steel brackets and arch wires to realign your smile. Of course, this introduces obstructions that get in the way of your regular oral hygiene routine.
Don’t let dental problems such as gingivitis, tartar and demineralization take hold while you’re having your teeth straightened! Follow these tips from Crest Oral-B to help your braces stay intact and perform their job while ensuring your teeth are in their best condition after completing your orthodontic treatment.
Brackets and bands trap pieces of food against your teeth, promoting bacterial growth, tooth discoloration and decay. Brushing with a manual toothbrush often leaves plague behind. This sticky, germ-filled substance can cause gum disease if left to build up on your teeth and gums.
An electric toothbrush is a better option. As you brush:
- Make sure you spend several seconds on each tooth.
- Reach all surfaces, including the fronts, backs and biting surfaces of each tooth, as well as behind your back molars.
- Carefully clean between brackets by angling the brush head against them. Make sure the bristles reach your gum line and under the orthodontic wires.
- There’s no need to push hard or scrub with an electric toothbrush; just hold it gently against your teeth and let the vibrating head do the rest.
Flossing is important for everyone, but it’s especially vital for patients who wear braces. Pieces of food stick to your teeth because they get lodged in and around the braces. Flossing also helps remove plaque.
Select threader floss specially designed for use with braces. This product has a stiff end, making it easier to thread through your brackets than ordinary floss. To floss with braces:
- Insert the floss under the wire between two teeth. Push the floss partway through and grasp the end with your fingers.
- Wrap the floss around your index fingers and grasp it with your thumbs and pointer fingers. Gently work it back and forth between each tooth.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape, following the curve of your tooth, to floss below the gum line.
- Gently pull the floss out, being careful not to pull too fast, which could cause a bracket to come loose.
- Rethread the floss through the next bracket and repeat the steps until you have flossed between all your teeth.
- Your gums may bleed until they become stronger. This is normal and nothing to worry about.
Mouthwash is important for preventing plaque re-growth. Swish twice daily after brushing and flossing to protect your teeth all day and night.
Using mouthwash with braces is no different than usual. Follow the instructions on the packaging to determine how much and how long to swish. Rinse out your mouth with water afterward to sweep away germs and leave your breath smelling fresh.
Avoid Certain Foods
Restricting your diet may not sound like much fun, but certain foods can break wires or brackets. This can result in painful protrusions, expensive repairs and prolonged treatment time. It’s worth following the rules so your braces work the way they were intended during your entire treatment period.
Do not eat:
- Chunky peanut butter
- Hard candy
- Chocolate bars with caramel and other gooey centers
- Chewy or sticky candy, such as taffy and gummy bears
- Hard, non-food items (ice, pens, pencils, fingernails)
Use caution when eating:
- Bagels and other chewy bread (tear into small pieces to reduce risk)
- Chips (eat one at a time)
- Corn on the cob (cut the corn off before you eat it)
- Apples and carrots (cut into bite-size pieces)
- Soda and other sugary drinks (avoid most of the time to help prevent tooth decay)
For more tips to help your experience wearing braces go as smoothly as possible, please contact Evanson DDS online or call us at (720) 409-0008.Leave a reply →