Now that you have your braces in place, it is more important than ever to maintain a healthy oral hygiene regimen. Braces, wires, bands, and retainers can all trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque. Careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal and snack, is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Step 1 – Floss at least once a day, making sure the floss is pulled under the archwire. If you need help with this step, try using a floss threader.
Step 2 – Push the end of the floss threader under the archwire and pull the floss through.
Step 3 – Pull the floss up between the teeth and gently move it up and down the side of both of teeth. Remember to move it up all the way under the gums.
Step 4 – Pull the floss out and use a different section for the next tooth.
Step 1 – Start on the outside of the teeth with the brush at a straight angle. Use circular vibrating motions.
Step 2 – 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.
Step 3 – Clean the rest of the outside of the teeth by angling the brush up (down for the lower jaw).
Step 4 – Carefully brush the chewing surface of both the upper and lower jaw.
Step 5 – Finish by brushing the inside of the teeth.
When you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth with water or an antiseptic dental rinse. The latter can help minor gum irritations and inflammations from orthodontic appliances and can also can be used to cleanse canker sores, heal minor wounds and other mouth and gum irritations, and remove debris, enabling natural healing to occur.
An interdental toothbrush (proxabrush) may also be useful for keeping your teeth, braces, and gums clean and healthy. It can be used to clean under orthodontic wires and around braces. Make sure you use this device slowly and carefully so as not to damage your braces.
Make sure to brush your retainer every time you brush your teeth, as it will accumulate food particles and plaque just like your teeth do. Once a day, you should soak your appliance in a glass of room-temperature tap water with a denture-cleaning tablet, such as Polident or Efferdent. This procedure will help prevent plaque build-up and oral infections and will keep your appliance tasting better. Be careful not to use hot water as it can distort the appliance!
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 almost anything, but there are a few exceptions. You should avoid hard foods, such as ice and pizza crust, as well as sticky foods, including licorice and caramels. These foods can damage wires and brackets. While we love to see you around the office, we don’t want you in to have your braces repaired! It is also important to minimize foods high in sugar content, like ice cream and cookies, and reduce sugary drinks to once a day.
If you want to check out some fun, braces-friendly recpies, then visit our Pinterest page!