Wearing braces can be a great way to achieve a beautiful, straight smile. However, braces require extra care and attention when it comes to oral hygiene. Without proper care, food and bacteria can get trapped in the brackets and wires, leading to decay and gum disease. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips for maintaining good oral hygiene while wearing braces.
1. Brush regularly and thoroughly (Hint! Set a timer for 2 minutes!)
Brushing your teeth is always important, but it’s especially important when you’re wearing braces. Food particles can easily get stuck in the wires and brackets, leading to decay and gum disease. Brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. (It’s important that your toothbrush has SOFT bristles!) Make sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth, including the front, back, and chewing surfaces. Pay special attention to the areas around your braces. A fun way to do this is to listen to a favorite song that is about 2 minutes long. Before you know it, you’ll be done!
2. Floss daily
Flossing is just as important as brushing when it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene with braces. Use a floss threader or orthodontic floss to get in between the wires and brackets. Take your time and be gentle to avoid damaging the wires or brackets. Flossing can be time-consuming and difficult at first, but it gets easier with practice. “Look Ma! I’m doing the floss!”
3. Use a water flosser
If flossing with traditional floss is too difficult, consider using a water flosser. Water flossers use a stream of water to remove food particles and bacteria from between your teeth and braces. They’re especially useful for people with braces because they can reach areas that are difficult to clean with traditional floss.
4. Avoid certain foods
Certain foods can damage or get stuck in your braces, leading to decay and gum disease. Avoid hard, sticky, and sugary foods, such as popcorn, gum, candy, and hard chips, such as Doritos (or as we like to say, Dorit-NO!). Instead, opt for soft, nutritious foods (like cheese, yogurt, eggs, or soft fruit (think bananas, peaches, kiwis, mangos) that won’t damage your braces or your teeth. Apples are fine, too, if you cut it into bite-sized pieces first. Bonus! Dark chocolate actually has tannins that help prevent tooth decay, but you don’t want to overindulge. Moderation is key!
5. Use fluoride mouthwash
In addition to brushing and flossing, using fluoride mouthwash can help keep your teeth healthy and strong. Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash once a day after brushing and flossing. This can help protect your teeth from decay and strengthen your enamel. Make sure to swish for at least one minute so the mouthwash can do its job!
6. Visit your dentist every 6 months (or more if Dr. Brown recommends it!)
Regular visits to your dentist are essential for maintaining good oral hygiene with braces. Your dentist will be able to check for any signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or other dental problems, and fix these issues right away.
7. Additionally, wear a mouthguard if you play sports!
If you play sports or engage in other physical activities, wearing a mouthguard can help protect your teeth and braces from damage. Your orthodontist can recommend a mouthguard that’s designed to fit over your braces.
Maintaining good oral hygiene & care with braces requires a little extra effort and attention. But by following these tips, you can ensure that your teeth stay healthy and strong throughout your orthodontic treatment. Remember to brush regularly, floss daily, avoid certain foods, use fluoride mouthwash, visit your orthodontist AND dentist regularly, and wear a mouthguard if you play sports. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a healthy, beautiful smile in no time at all!