5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth When You Have Braces
Do you have braces? Congratulations – you’re one step closer to your dream smile! On your journey, it’s important to pay extra attention to your oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing is trickier, and food particles and plaque can get stuck in the brackets and cause bad breath and cavities. Here are some ways to take special care of your teeth while you have braces.
1. Know that brushing is different with braces
Ideally, use a soft toothbrush with an orthodontic or “V” cut where the bristles in the middle are shorter. This can help you reach the corners and crevices around the brackets and wires. There are also special electric toothbrushes for people who have braces. Other people also use a pointed gum massager to gently remove any food debris before they brush.
Remove your elastics and bands. Slowly work the brush around the wires and pins, paying attention to the front teeth and back molars where food is like to get caught. Some people prefer going tooth by tooth, especially right after the braces have been tightened and feeling a bit sensitive.
Once you’ve given your braces a thorough cleaning, go ahead and brush as you normally would. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth three times a day, for at least 2 minutes each time. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too – bacteria and biofilm can coat your tongue, causing bad breath and tooth decay.
2. Floss well
Pick a thin, waxed floss. It’s less likely to get caught in the brackets. Insert it under the main wire, then through the gap between your teeth. It’s just like regular flossing, but you just need to make sure you don’t push against the wire. Slide the floss up and down to dislodge plaque, then gently pull it out. It’ll take three times longer to floss with braces, but you’ll soon get the hang of this.
3. Rinse and gargle often
This is a good dental health tip for everyone, but it’s especially true for those with braces, as the pressure from the liquid can help blast out bacteria and food particles that your toothbrush can’t reach. Use a mouthwash that has extra plaque protection, for an added push of cleanliness.
4. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks
You know by now to avoid sticky or chewy foods that can ruin your braces, but beware of sweet food that can ruin your teeth! Sodas, fruit juices and coffees are a common culprit: you don’t think you’re eating, so you forget to brush your teeth, but the sugars in these drinks can still increase your risk for tooth decay.
5. Consult with your orthodontist
Your dentist will check your teeth each time you go for an appointment. So, don’t skip those dentist visits – it’ll help your orthodontic treatment progress as expected, and give you a chance to have your teeth checked by a dental professional.
If you’re ready for a dental visit, call us today to schedule your appointment.