It’s important to be prepared for the fact that once you have braces, your teeth will become more difficult to care for. Braces contain lots of tiny spaces where food loves to get trapped, which can cause a build up of plaque. This, if neglected, can lead to more serious dental problems.

But it’s not all bad news. There are some advantages to wearing braces early on in life. Firstly, it means you’ll probably have better, healthier teeth and gums, which can prevent gingivitis. Secondly, taking care of your braces teaches you good oral hygiene habits for life. Thirdly, more people get braces at a young age than at any other time, so you’ll have plenty of friends to share the experience with.

At Grace and Bowman Orthodontics – with locations in Fort Walton Beach and Niceville, Fla. -we aim to straighten teeth, make them bite together and create a winning smile. What motivates our younger patients best is reminding them that the better shape they keep their braces in, the quicker they can come off.

Here are five great, easy tips for everyday hygiene:

  1. Avoid foods that aren’t braces friendly. Chewy foods like caramels or toffee, hard candy, chewing gum or crunchy foods can cause brace wires to snap or brackets to slip. Some fruits and vegetables can do this too, so try cutting them into small pieces.
  2. Brush immediately after every meal, including snacks. Regular brushing will keep your teeth looking good and prevent stains. You’ll probably need a special brush called a Proxabrush, which has bristles shaped like a Christmas tree and is designed to clean around the metal brackets of braces. Insert the brush down from the top and then up from the bottom between two braces. Use several strokes in each direction before moving on to the next space between two braces. Repeat the procedure until all your teeth have been cleaned.
  3. Floss at least once a day. It may take you some time to get used to how to brush and floss around your braces, but this will get easier with time and practice. Aim to use a gentle sawing motion to work the floss between the two teeth. Take care not to pull with too much force around the arch wire.
  4. Keep your orthodontist appointments.  They are a good opportunity for me to make any adjustments needed to your braces and for you to ask questions.
  5. Use a fluoride mouthwash. Food residue left between the braces and the teeth can cause enamel stains and decay. When a tooth’s surface is weakened by decay, fluoride is a natural mineral that can be absorbed it to rebuild the enamel.

Contact Grace and Bowman Orthodontics today for even more tips to caring for your metal braces.  You can speak to one of our expert staff or schedule an appointment with an orthodontist.