Your teeth and gums require extra special attention while wearing braces. Otherwise, the risk increases substantially for developing decay, gum disease or teeth staining. It’s also important to take special care of the braces themselves to prevent damage. If you aren’t diligent about following the guidelines provided by your orthodontist, your treatment may not be successful.
First and foremost, brushing your teeth after meals is imperative. You might get away with only brushing a couple of times a day without braces, but wearing orthodontic appliances means going the extra mile. Food particles are easily trapped by brackets and wires, and the longer the debris is present, the higher your risk for decay will be. After rinsing your mouth with water, use a soft toothbrush with round bristles. Start by brushing every tooth at the gum line, holding the brush at a 45-degree angle. Then brush the brackets from both an upward and downward angle, followed by more rinsing.
Even though it can be a daunting task, it’s important to floss daily between the braces and under the wires. It may be helpful to use a floss threader, and waxed floss often slides more easily between your teeth and braces than unwaxed floss.
Sherman Oaks orthodontist Dr. Fotovat may suggest using an oral irrigator that has a stream of pulsating water that targets plaque and debris. An interdental brush that inserts between teeth instead of flossing may also be an option. Rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash after other dental hygiene tasks can help kill bacteria left behind.
In addition to proper hygiene, pay attention to your diet. Avoid sugary or starchy foods that are prone to cause plaque or decay. Steer clear of eating overly chewy or sticky foods that can damage braces or become trapped in your mouth. Avoid hard foods like ice, popcorn or nuts that can break your brackets or wires. If you do want to eat crunchy foods like raw carrots or apples, cut them into bite-sized pieces first.
Taking good care of your braces and your oral health while undergoing orthodontic treatment is a key to success. You don’t want to wear braces for an extended period and then end up with a smile that still makes you unhappy. Follow these tips and you’ll be more likely to be smiling with delight.