When taking care of your braces, you need to do more than maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine. Today, our orthodontists at SmileTown Orthodontics Braces & Invisalign talk about the steps you should take to ensure your braces and oral health stay in optimal condition.
You can help prevent your teeth, gums, and braces from getting damaged by taking good care of them. It can also help ensure your orthodontic treatment is on track and prevent potential delays.
Importance of Good Oral Hygiene
On your braces, there are lots of tiny crevices and spaces that need to be cleaned carefully in order to prevent plaque bacteria buildup. Here we have shared some steps you can take so you can brush and floss your braces and teeth effectively.
Prepare to brush. Remove the elastics and any other removable components from your braces.
Brush your braces. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush around the wires and pins of your braces. Brush from the top of every wire to the bottom. Move from tooth to tooth methodically, to make sure you brush away as much of the debris and plaque as possible.
Brush your teeth. Brush your teeth one at a time. Begin by placing your brush at a 45-degree angle on the gum line, and then brush in a circular motion, applying gentle pressure. Dedicate about 10 seconds per tooth, and brush all the outer and inner tooth surfaces of each one. To help make this process easier, you can use an electric toothbrush with a round, rotating head.
Floss daily. Thread the floss between the main wire and your teeth. Gently press the floss between the first two teeth, and slide it up and down along the side of one tooth, and then the other. Gently remove the floss, unthread it from behind the wire, and then repeat the process between the next pair of teeth.
Rinse and check your teeth. When you are done brushing and flossing, rinse thoroughly with mouthwash or water, and in the mirror examine your teeth and braces to be sure you didn't miss anything.
Your Diet With Braces
In order to prevent your braces from getting damaged, you will need to make a few adjustments to your diet. The general rule of thumb is that any soft, non-sticky foods are safe to eat with braces, while hard, chewy, or crunchy foods should be avoided. We have listed some samples below:
Foods You Are Able to Eat With Braces:
- Eggs – cooked however you like
- Dairy – yogurt, soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Vegetables – mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, beans
- Fruit – soft fruits, hard fruits cut into small pieces, applesauce, fruit juice, smoothies, berries
- Meats/poultry – tender cooked meats, meatballs, lunch meats, etc.
- Bread & Grains – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins, pasta, rice
- Treats – ice cream, milkshakes, Jell-O, plain soft chocolates, peanut butter cups, brownies, soft cookies.
Foods To Avoid With Braces:
- Chewy foods – bagels, licorice, pizza crust, French bread
- Hard foods – nuts, uncooked carrots, toffee
- Foods that require biting into – apples, corn on the cob, carrots, ribs, and chicken wings
- Crunchy foods – popcorn, chips, ice, hard candies, thick pretzels
- Sticky foods – caramel candies, chewing gum, gummy candies
Attend Your Orthodontic Appointments
During your braces treatment, you will need to see your orthodontist on a regular basis so they can tighten and adjust your braces. This helps ensure your braces will keep doing their job properly. It also provides your orthodontist with the opportunity to evaluate your progress and make sure there aren't any problems.
Attend Routine Appointment With Your Dentist
You will also have to keep seeing your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups, as you usually would. Professional cleanings and checkups are essential for oral health because even the most rigorous brushing and flossing routine cannot remove hardened tartar. In addition to this, your dentist will be able to monitor your oral health, and ensure there are no other developing oral health problems.