Essential Dental Care Tips for Braces Wearers
How to look after your teeth when you have braces
Looking after your teeth becomes even more important when you have braces. The brackets and wires of your braces can make it more difficult to brush and floss your teeth putting you at higher risk of tooth decay. Learn how to keep your teeth healthy while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
How to brush your teeth with braces
Brushing your teeth with braces isn’t too different from brushing normally. Before you start brushing make sure you remove any plates or bands from your mouth. Brush your teeth for two minutes with flouride toothpaste. Make sure you brush each tooth and each individual bracket. Don’t forget to brush around your gumline. Proper brushing helps reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Plaque and food particles can easily get stuck within the brackets and wires of your braces. If you can, brush your teeth after lunch as well as at morning and night. You might have to take your toothbrush to school, work or university but this will help keep your teeth healthy and plaque free. Even brushing with water helps dislodge food from your braces and reduces the risk of cavities.
If you have a plate, mouthguard or removable appliance, brush it every time you brush your teeth.
What toothbrush is best for brushing with braces?
Electric toothbrushes make the job of brushing your teeth easier. Their slim heads and fast-rotating bristles do a thorough job of cleaning between the wires and brackets.
If you don’t have an electric toothbrush, choose a soft bristled toothbrush with a narrow head. Soft bristles won’t damage the wires or brackets or irritate your gums. Narrow headed toothbrushes are also better as they can get into any hard-to-reach places.
An extra tool that many dentists recommend are interdental toothbrushes. These are small hand-held brushes that make light work of cleaning between and around brackets.
If you have braces you should replace your toothbrush often as the bristles tend to fray more quickly and can irritate your gums.
How to floss your teeth with braces
Flossing can be difficult when you have braces but that doesn’t mean you can skip this step!
To floss with braces, it’s best to buy special orthodontic floss. This floss has plastic ends which makes it easier to thread the floss behind each tooth. Once you’ve threaded the floss behind each tooth, gently slide the floss up and down making sure you are gently pressing into the gums.
If you find flossing difficult, consider investing in a water flosser. This isn’t a substitute for flossing, but it can ensure you don’t miss any areas of your gums, but it can help to dislodge food before you go in with dental floss.
Water flossers are easy to use. Lean over the sink, place the nozzle in your mouth and aim the flow of water at your gumline. Take your time to clean the gumline of each tooth and the space between each tooth.
Should I use mouthwash with braces?
It’s up to you whether you would like to add mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine. Just make sure that the mouthwash you choose is alcohol free and has flouride. Alcohol can weaken the rubber parts of your braces.
What to do when your braces are rubbing or digging in
The metal on your braces can sometimes irritate the inside of your mouth. This can happen after you get your braces on or after they are tightened. Your orthodontist will give you wax to help protect your mouth and stop ulcers from forming. Most of the time your mouth will adjust to any changes in your braces within a few days. If your braces are broken book an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible.
What foods habits should I adapt with braces
There are some foods you should limit or avoid with braces:
- Limit how often you snack between meals. This will help prevent food from getting stuck between your wires and brackets and forming plaque.
- Cut hard fruit or vegetables into smaller pieces before you eat it. Biting directly into crunchy food can dislodge the brackets on your braces.
- Cut corn off the cob before you eat it. Corn can get stuck in your braces and is hard to brush out.
- Avoid sticky foods as these can get stuck between your braces, dislodge brackets and are hard to brush out.
- Avoid overly processed or soft foods. Where you can, swap processed foods for whole foods as these won’t coat your braces in sugar.
If you have questions about taking care of your braces or are interested in getting orthodontics talk to the Gentle Braces team today.