From the day your braces are first put on, you have probably imagined what your smile will look like on the day they are taken off. To avoid any unwanted surprises, it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene from the moment your braces are affixed right up until the day when they are removed.
Proper dental care with braces does require more effort, but it will be well worth it in the end! Adding to your usual oral hygiene routine can prevent decay, staining, and prolonged treatment. To help you tweak your habits, we put together a short list of ways to help you keep your smile sparkling.
- Watch what you eat.
Avoid eating too many sugary or starchy foods. These can make plaque build up quickly around brackets, which can cause staining or even cavities. Sticky foods should also be avoided as they are harder to clean off brackets and wires. Hard foods, such as nuts, popcorn, and beef jerky, can break wires and loosen, or even take off, brackets. Switch up your drinks, too. Stick to water as other beverages may contain dyes and sugar which can sneak into cracks and spaces between your teeth and brackets.
- Don’t forget to brush.
For everyone, brushing your teeth twice a day is important. But when you have braces, you might want to consider brushing more. While this might sound crazy, you should brush your teeth after every time you eat. Even those mid-morning or afternoon snacks! Having brackets and wires in your mouth create more places for plaque to hide. The longer the plaque can hide there, the more likely it is to cause problems in your mouth. You also might need to change how you brush. Be sure to brush around the brackets at an angle to make sure you are getting in that space where the bracket meets your tooth.
“At FDA, we recommend an electric tooth brush to make your brushing more effective. The moving bristles can get into those small nooks and crannies better than a manual brush can.”
- Rinse it off!
Don’t have time to brush? Forgot your toothbrush at home? Another effortless way to help get rid of that pesky bacteria is to use an antibacterial mouthwash. After eating, vigorously rinse out your mouth with some water to get rid of any larger pieces of food that may be stuck between brackets or wires. Then, swish with mouthwash to kill off any bacteria. If you can brush (which should always be your first choice), go ahead and use the mouthwash after anyway! The extra attack on bacteria is a terrific way to keep your mouth healthy.
- Floss, floss, floss.
We know, flossing is hard when you have extra hardware to work around. However, it is incredibly important to keep up a regular flossing routine when you have braces. To make it easier, we suggest getting a floss threader to get under those wires and between the braces. You can find those at any drugstore or in our office! While you are there, grab some waxed floss, it is easier to slide into those hard-to-reach areas.
- Don’t stop going to the dentist.
We know you visit the orthodontist often with your new gear, but don’t stop coming to see us! Not only do we want to see you and your changing smile, we want to help keep your mouth and teeth clean. We will also make sure each part of your braces are intact and working effectively. We are here to help with any questions you may have regarding brushing, flossing, or getting those hard-to-clean areas.
In fact, many patients increase their dental hygiene visits to ensure optimal oral hygiene while in orthodontic treatment. If you have questions about keeping your mouth clean with braces, give us a call at 207-781-5900 or schedule a visit today.