Braces are an important part of long-term oral health for people with crooked or misaligned teeth. However, while they are on, they can present additional challenges for maintaining good oral hygiene. Here are some tips that can help you keep your teeth healthy while your braces are doing their job.
Brush after Each Meal
When you have braces, frequent brushing is essential. You should brush after every meal and snack, which helps remove any food particle that might be stuck on or around the brackets. Be sure to use a good technique and brush from a variety of angles for at least two minutes to ensure that nothing is left behind that could potentially encourage tooth decay. Furthermore, wait at least 30 minutes after eating to brush. The protective enamel layer on your teeth is softer and more vulnerable during this time, and brushing too soon can cause it to erode.
Rinse after Eating
In the span of time between eating and brushing, you can get a head start on your oral hygiene by rinsing your mouth out with water. This will not only neutralize the acids left behind from foods but also wash away most of the remaining food particles that would otherwise feed harmful oral bacteria.
Mouthwash can add an extra layer of prevention against tooth decay by killing the naturally occurring bacteria that feed on leftover food particles in your mouth. When these bacteria consume leftover food particles, they secrete acids and other metabolic by-products that erode tooth enamel and cause bad breath. Also, if you have sensitive teeth or if your braces cause mild discomfort, mouthwash that is specially formulated for sensitive teeth and tooth pain can be very helpful in managing these issues.
Avoid Sticky Foods
Sticky and excessively chewy foods should be avoided by anyone who wears braces for two major reasons. First, some particularly sticky foods carry the risk of damaging your braces or pulling the brackets from your teeth, both of which are expensive to repair. Second, things like taffy, gummy candies and caramels can stubbornly adhere to the hard-to-reach areas around your braces, and brushing will not always remove every trace.
Regular flossing is another important aspect of maintaining good oral hygiene with braces. This habit helps to remove built-up food particles, tartar and plaque from between teeth. If these are left unaddressed, they will not just promote tooth decay and bad breath. They can also cause your gums to recede, exposing the roots of teeth to bacteria and erosion. If you find that you have difficulty flossing with regular floss, using pre-threaded flossers can make this task much faster and easier.
Taking extra care to maintain good oral hygiene is especially important for people with braces. At Grace and Bowman Orthodontics, we encourage all of our patients to maintain good oral health habits for the duration of any orthodontic treatment. Doing so, will ensure your teeth are still healthy when your braces are remove. Contact Grace and Bowman Orthodontics today to learn more.