It’s no secret that proper oral hygiene is essential to good dental health. Having braces can make it a little more challenging to keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy. They make it harder to thoroughly brush and floss, which increases the risk of plaque (the sticky film that coats the teeth and exposes you to harmful bacteria). If left untreated, plaque can quickly escalate to periodontal disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. Therefore, it’s essential to adjust your dental hygiene and care routine to accommodate the challenges that often come with braces.
We’ve got a few orthodontic tips to help you get around the metal in your mouth and preserve the quality of your teeth.
Use Proper Brushing Techniques
When you have braces, you have to adjust the way you brush your teeth. It’s common for food to get trapped in between your braces, which leads to discomfort and plaque development. To prevent the buildup of plaque, make sure to brush your teeth after every meal or snack.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to brushing with braces:
- Rinse your toothbrush and add toothpaste
- Move your brush in a circular motion over each tooth
- After you brush the outside of your teeth, cover the backside and then the chewing surfaces
- Finish by brushing your tongue
A helpful tip is to divide your mouth into four sections: the top left, the bottom left, the top right, and the bottom right. You should spend at least 30 seconds on each of these sections, which equals a total of two minutes. For the best results, use a high-quality electric toothbrush that oscillates as it moves over your teeth.
Floss with the Right Equipment
Brushing alone can’t remove all the food particles between your teeth, especially with the brackets and rubber bands. As the alignment of teeth changes, new cracks and crevices may harbor more debris than you are used to. Braces make flossing more difficult and time-consuming.
Use A Mouthwash
Mouthwash does more than just improve your breath, it also gets rid of excess food particles that may be lingering in your mouth. A fluoride mouthwash brings the added benefit of protecting your tooth enamel, or the outside coating of your tooth, from bacteria caused by plaque. It’s important to remember that mouthwash is a supplement to brushing and flossing, not a replacement.
Avoid Certain Foods
Certain foods are more likely to get caught in or damage your braces. Sticky foods can get wedged in the braces and can be difficult to remove. Hard food can cause the bands or wires in braces to snap. To ease cleaning and protect your braces from breaking, we recommended you avoid these foods altogether:
- Popcorn and hard nuts
- Chewy and gummy candy
- Hard cookies and crackers
- Raw carrots and whole apples
- Crunchy chips or pretzels
You should also try not to eat too many sweets, as this increases the chance of plaque and cavities.
Use a Fork and Knife
To prevent the brackets of your braces from breaking, chew food carefully and avoid biting down too hard. This will help prevent the brackets of your braces from breaking. Biting can also cause discomfort as braces constantly put pressure on your teeth, making them more sensitive. Using a knife and fork to eat foods that you may typically bite into, such as meat, corn, and sandwiches can help protect your teeth.
It’s normal for your teeth to feel sore after you get your braces or when they are adjusted. This pain can be managed by applying an ice pack, rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater, or taking an over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol or ibuprofen. For more severe pain, you can try an oral anesthetic or over-the-counter pain medication.
If these methods do not work, or if you experience pain at random times, then you should consult your orthodontist to ensure nothing is wrong.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Regular dental visits are important while you have braces and are the best way to reduce the risk of any problems occurring. In addition, braces make teeth more prone to plaque and tartar accumulation, so maintaining regular cleanings are more important now than ever.
If you are concerned that something may be wrong with your braces, you should contact your dentist immediately. Our team at JR Dental is ready to address your concerns and help you take care of your braces. So call us at (904) 786-5850 to schedule an appointment today!