When a child or teenager wears braces to straighten the teeth, oral hygiene is more important and also more difficult. It takes more time to brush teeth with braces, but it is a necessary part of caring for the health of your teeth and gums. By following the steps below between office visits, you can keep your teeth and braces clean while reducing dental problems.
Change Your Diet
If you wear braces, one of the first things you need to do is to change your diet. There are certain foods that you have to give up to make brushing your teeth and braces a little easier. Basically, you need to avoid most junk foods, even those you love. There are even some healthy foods you should avoid. It is best to not eat foods that are chewy, hard, or sticky. These types of foods can damage braces by breaking wires or brackets. If this happens, it costs money to repair, and it probably will prolong the time you need to wear braces.
By not eating hard candies, gum, taffy, caramel, popcorn, and other foods of this nature, you reduce the likelihood of damage to your braces. Healthy foods to avoid include nuts, corn on the cob, carrots, and apples. If you want to eat apples or carrots, cut them into small slices first. Eating corn off the cob is acceptable.
Brush Teeth after Every Meal
With braces, you now have to brush your teeth more often. Your orthodontist will give you instructions on how to brush your teeth when you first get braces. In most cases, the dentist will suggest using a soft bristle toothbrush to gently clean the teeth without damaging the braces.
You have to brush after every meal because food particles are more easily trapped in the spaces around the braces. It is important to brush to prevent food from building up. By brushing, you also reduce the amount of plaque on your teeth and braces. Plaque is a sticky substance caused by the bacteria of food. Plaque causes many dental problems such as gingivitis, tartar build up, cavities, bad breath, and other gum diseases.
Using fluoride tooth paste when brushing is also good for oral health. With the brush held at an angle, brush each tooth in a small circular motion. Clean all sides of your teeth, and your tongue as well. If you can’t brush after a meal, then rinse your mouth with water vigorously to wash away the food particles.
Use Floss Daily
Flossing removes plaque from the surfaces of the teeth and removes food from between the teeth. Floss reaches places a toothbrush cannot access. With braces you need to use a special type of floss to work your way around the braces. You can use orthodontic floss or a floss threader. With a floss threader, you place a piece of dental floss on the reusable device. You then use the floss in an up and down motion on the front of each tooth. You then also floss between each tooth. It is best to floss after you brush your teeth at the end of the day. This allows you to go to bed with completely clean mouth.
Rinse with Mouth Wash
The best mouthwashes kill bacteria and germs that build up on the teeth and braces. Some mouthwashes contain ingredients that help to prevent cavities. By rinsing your mouth at least once a day, you get a cleaner and healthier mouth. Mouthwashes also help to eliminate or reduce bad breath.
You need to make a commitment to caring for your teeth when you have braces. It takes more time and effort to keep your teeth clean when you wear braces, but it is worth it in the long run. Once the braces come off, you not only have a great smile, but also healthy teeth and gums. This is only possible with good oral hygiene on a daily basis.