Maintaining your braces properly can help keep your teeth, gums, and the braces themselves from suffering harm. Additionally, it can ensure that there are no delays and that your orthodontic treatment proceeds as scheduled.
Braces have all sorts of tiny spaces and crevices that should be carefully cleaned to prevent plaque and bacteria from building up inside and around them. Follow these steps to brush and floss effectively with braces.
Prepare to brush. Remove the elastics and any other removable components of your braces.
Brush your braces. Holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, brush around the wires and pins of your braces. Brush from the top of every wire to the bottom. Move from tooth to tooth methodically to try and get all plaque and debris brushed away.
Brush your teeth. Brush each tooth individually. Start by positioning your brush at a 45-degree angle on the gum line. Then, brush gently and in a circular motion. Brush both the outer and inner surfaces of each tooth for approximately 10 seconds. A rotating, round-head electric toothbrush can make this process much simpler.
Floss daily. Thread the floss between the main wire and your teeth. Gently press the floss between the first two teeth, and slide it up and down along the side of one tooth, and then the other. Gently remove the floss, unthread it from behind the wire, and then repeat the process between the next pair of teeth.
Rinse and check your teeth. Once you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse thoroughly with water or mouthwash and examine your teeth and braces in the mirror to make sure you haven't missed anything.
To keep your braces safe, you'll probably need to make a few dietary changes. Any soft, non-sticky food is safe to eat while wearing braces, but foods that are hard, chewy, or crunchy should be avoided. Here are a few instances:
Foods you can eat with braces:
- Dairy – yogurt, soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Eggs – cooked however you like
- Bread & Grains – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins, pasta, rice
- Meats/poultry – tender cooked meats, meatballs, lunch meats, etc.
- Vegetables – mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, beans
- Fruit – soft fruits, hard fruits cut into small pieces, applesauce, fruit juice, smoothies, berries
- Treats – ice cream, milkshakes, Jell-O, plain soft chocolates, peanut butter cups, brownies, soft cookies.
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Chewy foods – bagels, licorice, pizza crust, French bread
- Crunchy foods – popcorn, chips, ice, hard candies, thick pretzels
- Sticky foods – caramel candies, chewing gum, gummy candies
- Hard foods – nuts, uncooked carrots, toffee
- Foods that require biting into – apples, corn on the cob, carrots, ribs and chicken wings
Regular Orthodontic Appointments
You should visit your orthodontist for regular appointments throughout the course of your orthodontic treatment to have the braces tightened and adjusted. This will guarantee that the braces continue to function as intended. Additionally, it gives your orthodontist a chance to assess your development and make sure there are no issues.
Regular Dental Appointments
Additionally, you should keep going to your regular dentist for cleanings and examinations as usual. Even the most diligent brushing and flossing regimen may not be able to remove tartar that has hardened, making professional cleanings and examinations crucial for oral health. Your dentist will also be able to keep an eye on your oral health to make sure no cavities or other issues are developing.