How to Practice Good Oral Hygiene with Braces

Braces are a common orthodontic service used to help correct overcrowded, crooked teeth, or jaw discrepancies. There are several benefits of braces, including an attractive smile, better dental function and straight teeth. Before you leave the dentist office, your dentist will give you some instructions for caring for your braces. The instructions may seem overwhelming at first, but taking care of braces is not quite as complicated as you may think they are going to be. Taking care of braces involves two primary categories: oral hygiene and food discipline.

Braces and Oral Hygiene

Your oral hygiene is important when you have braces. Food particles will easily get stuck under your braces, so it is important to brush thoroughly. When you are brushing your teeth, move the toothbrush in small circular motions to help remove any food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at a slight angle and carefully brush over the surface of each tooth and between the braces. You should brush at least four times each day: in the morning, either after lunch or after school, after dinner and before going to bed. The bristles of your toothbrush will wear down more than before you had braces, so you will need to replace your toothbrush more often.

When you wear braces, flossing is essential to make sure you remove the plaque and food particles that your toothbrush can't reach. Talk to your dentist about the best type of floss to use for your specific needs. For example, your dentist may recommend you use a water pic instead of thread floss. Flossing should be done at least once each day. When you first start flossing, the gums may bleed some. If the bleeding does not stop after the first couple of times you floss, inform the dentist the next time you are at the dentist office.

Rinsing with a mouthwash that contains fluoride may help to strengthen the enamel on your teeth and prevent tooth decay. But you should talk to your dentist about the best type of mouthwash to use. A prescription strength fluoride toothpaste may be prescribed by your dentist as well.

Foods to Avoid

Particular foods, such as sticky and hard foods, should be avoided while you have braces because they can break wires and loosen the brackets. To prevent damage to the wires on your front teeth while eating, cut apples, carrots and other crunchier foods into bite-sized pieces before eating. It is also important to avoid eating sugary foods because they can cause tooth decay. After eating, it is extremely important to brush thoroughly. Food particles can get stuck under your braces and be difficult to remove, and the longer they remain lodged between teeth and braces, the greater the risk is of getting cavities.

It is important that you schedule regular visits with your dentist office so they can monitor the health of your teeth and gums during your orthodontic services. Keep in mind that the risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease is significantly higher when you wear braces if you don't practice good oral hygiene.

Contact us to schedule an appointment for a cleaning or to learn more information about how braces can help improve your smile.