Braces are wired appliances used to correct misalignment, crowded teeth, underbites, and overbites. They are extremely beneficial, both for your oral health and in fulfilling your aesthetic needs. However, one reason many forego braces is the extra care braces require. They add nooks and crannies to your mouth where food can get stuck, which can lead to plaque buildup if not cleaned properly.
Consistency with oral care is a must if you're going to have braces. It may seem difficult and tedious, but once you get used to your new routines, it won't seem so hard.
Brace Care: The Basics
Brushing and Flossing
Braces require careful cleaning, as plaque bacteria can easily get trapped within and around the braces. Brushing and flossing are the most basic way of caring for your teeth and braces.
Here's how you make brushing and flossing easier every day:
- Remove elastics and other removable parts from your orthodontic appliance.
- Hold your brush at a 45 degree angle and brush from the top to the bottom of each wire to clean the wires and pins of your braces.
- Take the time to remove all plaque and food debris, and make sure you brush all of your upper and lower teeth.
- Brush each of your teeth. Place your toothbrush at 45 degrees at the gum line, and apply gentle pressure while moving in a circular motion for 10 seconds. Do the same for your other teeth while tilting your toothbrush to reach the inner portion of your front teeth.
- Floss once daily. You can ask your dentist for the best flossing method or follow the instruction on your floss's packaging.
- Rinse your well with water or mouth wash, then examine your braces and teeth in the mirror.
Other Tools for Brace Care
Aside from floss and brushes, you have other tools at your disposal to help care for your braces. These include:
- Oral steam irrigators – These high-pressure water steam machines remove food particles between the teeth.
- Interdental brushes – These brushes can clean places orthodontic brushes cannot reach.
Tips in Caring for Braces
Always check your teeth .
Check your teeth and braces for any food particles or loose wires or brackets. If you find anything that isn't quite right, contact your dentist immediately. Do not try to fix it.
Mind what you eat.
Part of good oral hygiene is being mindful of what you eat, especially when wearing braces. Avoid foods that are sticky, sweet, hard, and acidic. Hard foods can loosen the wires and bands of your braces. Chewy and sticky foods are difficult to remove, while acidic and sugary foods can stain your teeth that might become more noticeable when your braces are removed.
Choose the right toothbrush and floss.
According to dentists at Sunrise Dentistry, you should choose an orthodontic toothbrush with long and soft bristles. Their bristles are long and thin enough to reach between teeth and braces. You can also use an electric toothbrush; just make sure to use the moderate setting to prevent braces from coming loose.
Choose waxed floss or a floss threader when cleaning teeth with braces. Unlike unwaxed floss, waxed floss doesn't snag on braces and is easier to slide between teeth.
Don't treat teeth as your tools.
You've probably felt second-hand pain watching someone open a bottle using their teeth. Do not, under any circumstance, follow their example. Don't use your teeth to open anything, ever. You can severely damage your teeth and braces, which may result in a trip to your dentist's office. Damaging one or more brackets is painful, and it can impact your treatment's duration.
Wear a mouth guard if you play sports.
Don't let braces stop you from your athletic pursuits and healthy lifestyle. If you play a sport, it's best to wear a mouth guard. Most contact sports require mouth guards. Luckily, there are mouth guards made especially for braces. They have more space than regular mouth guards that can accommodate braces.
Visit your dentist regularly.
Schedule regular visits to your dentist; they are a good way for them to keep track of your treatment's progress and maintain the cleanliness of your braces.
Don't let the extra care braces need stop you from getting them. Caring for them becomes easier with the right technique and tools. Keep your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle when brushing your teeth and braces, and remember to clean all the spaces between your teeth and braces with floss, an interdental toothbrush, or oral steam irrigators.
Always check your teeth and braces and use the right equipment to clean them. Mind what you eat, and wear mouth guards if you play sports. Never, under any circumstance, use your teeth to open or hold anything, or you'll be back at your dentist's office sooner than you think with broken braces. Lastly, visit your dentist regularly; they can give you tips on takeing care of your oral health and make sure your treatment is right on track.