Oral hygiene becomes a bit challenging if you are wearing braces to fix your crooked teeth. No matter the type of braces – ceramic braces, metal braces or Invisalign braces, you need to take special care of your oral hygiene with braces.
Teeth straightening treatment with braces requires a lot of time, money and effort. To get the desired results, it is important that you take good care of your teeth while wearing them.
If you neglect oral hygiene during this phase, you are putting your teeth at risk of oral problems such as discoloration, decay etc.
Here’s what you need to follow to ensure good oral hygiene with braces so that you can get the smile of your dreams without any setbacks.
Eat A Braces-Friendly Diet
Once you get your braces, your orthodontist prescribes certain dietary dos and don’ts. To ensure that you don’t damage your braces or your teeth and gums, it is important that you follow your orthodontist’s dietary prescription.
Some of the most common foods and drinks which you can and cannot consume are as follows:
- Potato chips
- Sports drinks
As a rule, you should avoid those foods which can loosen, break or bend the wires and bands of your braces. These include hard foods such as nuts, apples, carrots and sticky foods like toffees, chewy fruit bars, caramels etc.
Alter Your Brushing & Flossing Technique
If you are wearing braces, your orthodontist will recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush or a power toothbrush or an interdental toothbrush. The interdental toothbrush will help you reach underneath the wires and around the brackets so that you can clean your teeth thoroughly.
Use gentle strokes to brush your teeth. Floss at least once a day to ensure that no food particles are stuck between your teeth. Super floss is preferred by people who wear braces. It has a straight stiff end, spongy middle portion and normal floss end.
A reusable floss threader with normal dental floss also works fine. Lastly, rinse with a non-alcoholic mouthwash. Brushing three or four times a day and around the brackets may wear out the bristles of your toothbrush faster. Replace it when the bristles start to look frayed.
Initially it would be little difficult for your kids and teens to adjust to new hygiene routine, so make sure to help and teach them how to brush with braces. This will make the process easier for them and will also help them to maintain optimum hygiene.
Get Rid Of Harmful Habits
While you are wearing braces, you should try and get rid of some of the most common habits which can prove harmful to your braces and teeth. These include nail biting, chewing on pencils, pens, ice or gum, picking at the wires of your braces, unnatural tongue thrusting etc.
Make conscious effort to avoid doing these actions. Remember, damaged wires or brackets of your braces will not only cost you more money but also extended treatment time. It will also cause you inconvenience and discomfort.
In case you do break or damage your braces accidently, consult your orthodontist immediately. Do not try to fix the broken or damaged part yourself.
Caring For Your Teeth With Invisalign Braces
Invisalign braces are one of the most popular choices today when it comes to teeth straightening. These are basically aligners which are made from clear plastic. The trays are custom-made to fit your mouth.
They can be taken out easily to eat and clean your mouth which makes oral hygiene extremely easy unlike traditional or ceramic braces. Here’s what you need to do when it comes to caring for your teeth while wearing Invisalign braces:
- Remove the trays before eating
- Brush your teeth after every single meal with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste
- If you are unable to brush after every meal, you should at least rinse your mouth thoroughly
- Rinse your mouth with a fluoride anti-bacterial mouthwash
- Floss daily to remove any food particles stuck between the teeth
- Avoid starchy, sugary and chewy foods
- Quit smoking
- Clean the aligners as instructed by your orthodontist to prevent bacterial growth on them
The risk of tooth decay and cavities increases when you are wearing braces. Hence, oral hygiene becomes all the more important during this period.
Proper diet, correct brushing and flossing techniques, avoiding harmful habits – all of these can help you maintain a healthy mouth even when you are wearing braces.
Follow them religiously and you are sure to enjoy a healthy and perfect smile when your braces come off.
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Dr. Satish Pai is an orthodontist and Ivy League trained dentist who has served as a faculty at Columbia University. He believes a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics and a Partner at Brite Orthodontics, he is dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatments to his patients. He also writes to educate people about everything orthodontics and the importance of correctly aligned teeth along with good oral health. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing, and spending time with this family.