We all know the general rules of brushing our teeth: at least twice a day for two minutes each. Growing up we are taught the importance of dental hygiene, but the tables tend to turn once we get braces. It is normal to worry if the general rules are enough to clean our teeth through braces. However, interestingly enough, not much changes once brackets are added into the equation.
Here are some great tips on how to maintain a fresh, clean smile while wearing braces.
- Do a quick rinse with water before brushing. This allows for the release of any loose food particles within the brackets.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush—or even better, an electric one. Brushes that are V-shaped will allow for easier access in between brackets.
- In order to avoid damaging the brackets and wires, it is required to brush a bit more gently than you would without braces.
- Replace your toothbrush at least every three months. Braces can often result in more wear and tear on your toothbrush, so pay attention to make sure the bristles are never worn down from the brackets.
- Don’t forget to brush ALL parts of your teeth: the front, side and back are all equally important.
- Flossing is just as important, if not more so, when you have braces. Use a floss threader to get in between teeth and underneath the wires effortlessly. Even more efficient is the use of a water flosser, which uses high water pressure to clean between teeth and the gum line.
- If possible, brush teeth after every meal. Food particles and plaque can easily get stuck onto brackets, which can be hard to remove without a proper brushing.
- Finish up with a fluoride mouth rinse, which works to prevent cavities and stains.
Abiding by these brushing rules will help to maintain a clean smile. However, some foods should be avoided while wearing braces regardless of how often you brush your teeth.
Here’s a list of foods to stay away from until you are brace-free:
- Crunchy, hard foods like popcorn, ice, nuts, raw vegetables and hard candies.
- Sticky foods like caramel and gum.
- Foods that require biting into like apples and corn on the cob.
If you are a chronic chewer and find yourself gnawing on pen caps or fingernails, now is the time to break that habit. It is important to realize that any harsh impact can easily damage the brackets. If you are an athlete, use a mouth guard in order to prevent any direct impact to your mouth.
The fear of ending up with small white squares once braces are removed is very common. However, it is important to steer clear of whitening products while wearing braces as it can deteriorate the cement on the brackets. It can also lead to uneven whitening, which will be visible post-braces.
Braces are a temporary stress for a permanent fix. However, dental hygiene is a lifelong task and must be taken as such. Semiannually cleanings are vital to a healthy mouth, along with daily care. Come in and see Dr. Roth or Dr. Chase at Smiles NY for your preventative care to get the lifelong smile you deserve.