You have braces! Since food and other debris can easily become lodged between teeth or get stuck in your braces, it’s important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen throughout the length of your orthodontic treatment.
Braces, wires, band and retainers can all trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plague. Careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal and snack, is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease.
Brushing Teeth While You’re in Braces
- Start with the outside of the teeth, with the brush at a straight angle. Use circular, vibrating motions.
- Clean the area between the gums and braces by angling the brush down (up for the lower jaw). Keep moving in a small, circular motion.
- Clean the rest of the outside of teeth by angling the brush up (down for the lower jaw).
- Carefully brush the chewing surface of the upper and lower jaw.
- Finish by brushing the inside of the teeth.
How to Floss Teeth With Braces
- Floss at least once a day.
- Use a floss threader to pull floss under the archwire.
- Push the end of the floss threader under the archwire and pull the floss through.
- Pull the floss up between the teeth and gently move it up and down each side of the tooth. Remember to move it up all the way under the gums.
- Pull the floss out and use a different section for the next tooth.
Rinse Teeth Following Brushing and Flossing
When you are finished brushing and flossing, carefully rinse your mouth with water or an antiseptic dental rinse. The rinse can help treat minor gum inflamations and irritations fromm orthodontic appliances, enabling natural healing to occur.
The antiseptic dental rinse can also be used to cleanse canker sores, minor wounds and other mouth and gum irritations.
An interdental toothbrush (proxabrush) is another aid you might fund useful in keeping your teeth, braces and gums clean and healthy. It can be used to clean under orthontic wires and around braces. Use this devise slowly and carefully, so you do not damage your braces.
During the retention phase, it’s important to brush your retainer every time you brush your teeth, as they can accumulate food particles and plaque.
Once a day, you should soak your appliance in a glass of room temperature tap water with a denture cleaning table, such as Polident or Efferdent. This soaking helps prevent plaque build-up and oral infections and will keep your application tasting better. Do not use hot water, as it can distort the appliance.
Food Guidelines to Follow While You’re Wearing Braces
Your teeth may be a little sore for the first week in braces, so we recommend sticking to a soft food diet until the discomfort subsides. While in braces, you can still eat just about anything, although there are a few exceptions.
You should avoid hard food, such as ice and pizza crust, as well as sticky foods, including licorice and caramels. These foods can damage wires and brackets. It is also important to minimize foods high in sugar content, like ice cream and cookies, and reduce sugary drinks like soda to only once a day.