Taking Care of Your Teeth with Braces
Maintaining good oral hygiene practices is even more important after your braces are put on. The brackets, bands, and wires of braces and retainers make it easy for food particles to become trapped and more difficult to clean them away. Careful brushing and flossing throughout your treatment will ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy and free of decay. Dr. Kuhlberg and his team want you to know how to best to care for your teeth while wearing braces, please read through the information below, and use the interactive oral hygiene module.
Brushing your teeth with braces requires a few more steps and tweaks than your previous routine. Follow these steps to ensure you brush away any trapped food and plaque.
- Step 1: Begin with the outside of the teeth. With your brush at a straight angle brush using gentle, circular motions.
- Step 2: Clean the area between the gums and braces by angling your brush down (angle up for lower teeth). Continue to brush in small circular motions.
- Step 3: Continue to clean the outside of the teeth by angling the brush up (down for lower teeth).
- Step 4: Carefully clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
- Step 5: Finish brushing the backsides of your teeth.
Bacteria can also collect on the surface of your tongue and roof of the mouth, so it is important to also brush these areas with your toothbrush.
Flossing with braces can be tricky, but with the aid of special orthodontic flossers you will be able to effectively clean between your teeth. It is important to floss at least once a day to remove any plaque and food that has collected between the teeth. Here are some tips on flossing with the use of a threader:
- Step 1: Start my pulling a piece of floss through the threader.
- Step 2: Thread the floss threader under your braces wire and pull the floss through.
- Step 3: Pull the floss between teeth and gently move it up and down, making sure to get it underneath the gums.
- Step 4: Pull the floss out and use a new section for each tooth.
After you are done brushing and flossing your teeth, it is important to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water or an antiseptic mouthwash. A dental rinse can help sooth minor gum inflammations, irritations, and other sores from orthodontic appliances. It will also remove debris, which promotes natural healing to occur. We suggest using Peroxyl, which is a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse.
Phos-Flur is a sodium fluoride gel that helps prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces. It kills bacteria and replaces minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to harmful acids. Phos-Flur does not replace daily brushing and flossing but should be done following your daily schedule at bedtime. Place a small strip of Phos-Flur on a toothbrush and apply it to your teeth for one minute and spit it out. You may not eat or drink for 30 minutes after you use Phos-Flur, as it is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes.
An interdental toothbrush, or proxabrush, is another aid you may find helpful in keeping your mouth and braces clean. It is helpful for cleaning underneath your wires and around braces brackets. However, be sure to use this device slowly and carefully so you do not damage your braces.
While in the retention phase of your orthodontic treatment, it is important to remember to clean your retainer every time you place it back in your mouth. Once a day you should soak your appliance in a glass of warm water with a denture cleaner, such as Efferdent or Polident. This will help prevent plaque and bacteria build up and will also keep your retainer tasting better. It is important to remember to not put your retainer in hot water, as it can change the shape it.
Foods to Avoid
While wearing braces, you can eat pretty much anything you want. However, there are certain foods that you should stay away from:
- Hard foods such as pizza crust and ice
- Sticky foods such as gum and caramels
- Foods that are high in sugar content like ice cream and cookies
- Reduce your sugary drink intake to only once a day
Come See Us at Kuhlberg Orthodontics Today!
We hope that our tips on maintaining good oral hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment were helpful. If you have any more questions or would like to schedule an appointment or first visit with us, please contact us. Our Avon, Connecticut office is proud to help patients in the surrounding communities of Farmington Valley, including Canton, Unionville and Granby. We look forward to getting to know you and seeing you smile!