Caring for Your Teeth with Braces
Good oral hygiene is the key to a healthy smile, but it’s even more important when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. With the addition of brackets, wires and bands on your teeth, there is even more to care for with the added challenge of cleaning in and around all of the hard to reach spots. Using the correct tools and techniques is crucial to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Here at OP Smiles we want you to practice the best oral hygiene techniques, so learn more below.
When brushing your teeth with braces, be sure to brush between the brackets and gums to reach the many places food can get stuck. Use a soft brush, fluoride toothpaste and follow these steps:
- Step 1: Beginning with the outside of the teeth, brush at a straight angle using circular, vibrating motions.
- Step 2: Still using a circular motion, angle the brush down to clean the upper row of teeth between the gums and braces and angle it up to clean the lower row of teeth between the gums and braces.
- Step 3: To finish the rest of the outside of the teeth, use the same technique, but angle up for the upper row of teeth and down for the lower row of teeth.
- Step 4: Clean the chewing surface by carefully brushing both the upper and lower rows with a back and forth motion.
- Step 5: To finish, angle the brush downwards and brush the inside of the lower teeth and upward to brush the inside of the upper teeth.
Floss at least once ever day. In order to get between the archwire and the teeth, use a floss threader.
- Step 1: Pull the floss through the threader.
- Step 2: Push the threader between the archwire and teeth, pulling the floss through.
- Step 3: Slide the floss between your teeth and using and up and down motion, clean both teeth all the way under the gums.
- Step 4: Pull the floss out and repeat the same steps with a new section of floss for the next tooth.
After brushing and flossing, always rinse your mouth with water or antiseptic dental rinse. Using Peroxyl, a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse, will reduce inflammation to your gums and cheeks while helping to prevent infection and decrease irritation.
You can use Peroxyl up to four times a day following your brushing schedule. Use two teaspoons (half a capful) to rinse your mouth for one minute and then spit it out.
An interdental toothbrush is a tool to help keep your mouth clean and healthy when you have braces. You can use the small brush to clean in the hard to reach areas such as under the archwire or around the brackets, but be careful with the interdental toothbrush so as to not damage your braces.
Just like your teeth, retainers can accumulate food particles and plaque, so it’s important that you brush your retainer every time you brush your teeth. To help prevent build-up and oral infections, soak your retainer in a glass of room temperature water with a denture-cleaning tablet at least once a day. Do not use hot water, which can warp your retainer.
Foods to Avoid
When you first get your braces on or after you have them tightened, your teeth can be a little sore, so we recommend a soft food diet during these times, but you can eat most other foods with the following guidelines:
- Avoid sticky foods: Bubble gum, jelly beans and sticky fruit snacks
- Avoid hard, crunchy foods: Hard candy and peanut brittle
- Limit sugary foods: Sweets and soft drinks that can cause tooth decay under the appliances
Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride and brushing and flossing regularly ensures significantly lower cavities. Dentists can evaluate the level of fluoride in a primary drinking water source and recommend fluoride supplements, if necessary.
Contact Our Boone Dental Office Today
By following a good oral hygiene regimen during your treatment, you will do your part in putting your best smile forward. If you are a current patient with questions or a new patient interested in Invisalign, clear braces or our other treatments, please contact us or request an appointment online.