7 Tips for Proper Hygiene While Wearing Braces
Do you have a love/hate relationship with your braces? Hate wearing them, but love the idea of a more beautiful smile when you are done? Don’t let your mixed feelings about them keep you from taking good care of your braces and your teeth during treatment. Braces are a big investment and if you don’t take proper care of them and follow your orthodontist’s instructions you could end up with problems with your teeth later on.
Brushing and flossing and keeping your brackets, wires and other dental accessories clean and in good shape will help make sure you don’t develop gum disease or cavities during treatment. Proper oral hygiene will also help ensure that your treatment stays on track and you don’t have to wear the braces for longer than originally planned. Don’t risk having a lot of stop and starts in your treatment because you need to get dental work done. No one wants to wear braces longer than they have to.
Another important incentive to taking good care of your teeth and braces is that if you do not, when the braces come off, your newly straightened smile might be marred by discoloration from plaque and bacteria building up.
Now that you understand the importance of taking care of your braces and teeth, here are some tips for proper hygiene while wearing braces:
Ask Your Orthodontist about Cleaning Tools
Cleaning out all the nooks and crannies between the teeth and the brackets and wires can be a challenge especially in the back of the mouth. Why not give yourself the best shot at success by using dental cleaning tools that can make the whole process a lot easier? Tools like inter-dental brushes that you can use to clean between your brackets and wires before you floss and brush can really make a difference. Ask also about a floss threader which you use just like a needle and a thread to get the floss into hard to reach places.
Replace Your Toothbrush on a More Frequent Basis
You will most likely need to replace your toothbrush more often while you are wearing braces because there is more wear and tear on the brush from the brackets and wires. Also, make sure your toothbrush is a soft-bristled toothbrush or consider getting an electric toothbrush.
Do a Thorough Cleaning Several Times a Day
Now is not the time to get lazy with your brushing and flossing. While you might typically only floss once day, now you should floss every time you brush your teeth. First, use the inter dental brush to get rid of any big food particles stuck in the archwire and around the brackets and then brush your teeth, making sure you also clean all the brackets on your teeth. Be meticulous and take your time to make sure you don’t miss any spots.
Be Gentle on Your Gums When Flossing
While you want to clean your gums thoroughly, you also don’t want to be rough on them. Gently work the floss up and down but don’t jam it in. You don’t want to cause irritations to the gums that can lead to infection.
Avoid Eating Too Much High-Acid Foods
High-acid foods like tomatoes, pineapples, soft drinks and salsa can erode the enamel on your teeth. Try to eat more low-acid foods like bananas, mangoes, carrots and cucumbers. You should also avoid hard and really crunchy food that could damage your braces. Staying away from picky foods is also a good idea if you want to avoid problems with your teeth and braces.
Fluoride Is Your Friend
Some tooth decay is common when you wear braces, but the good news is fluoride can help. Make sure to use toothpaste with fluoride and ask your orthodontist if mouthwash with fluoride would be good for your situation too.
Did you know that besides avoiding certain foods, that you should also eat more of certain foods that are known for strengthening your teeth? Here are some foods that should definitely be on your grocery list:
- Tea — One study from the University of Illinois in Chicago discovered that people who rinsed their mouths with black tea for one minute at least ten times a day had less buildup of plaque on their teeth than those who just rinse their mouths with water. Just stick to black and green teas for less sugar and always drink in moderation.
- Cranberries – This popular fruit contains polyphenols which are good for your teeth. They taste good with yogurt or a topping on your salad.
- Milk – If you drink milk after you eat something sweet, it cuts down on the acid that lingers in your mouth after your treat. What better reason do you need to have some milk with your cookies?
- Leafy Greens – Not only are your greens good for your heart health, they are good for your teeth too. High in calcium and folic acid, they should be on your menu daily to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
- Raisins – Raisins are a good source of phytochemicals which means eating them can help reduce the bacteria in your mouth. A box a day can help keep the cavities away.
Proper nutrition not only helps your body stay strong and healthy, it also helps your mouth fight off infection, cavities and gum disease. Besides adding more of these food and beverages to your diet, start reading food labels more diligently so you know what you are putting into your body.
Having an experienced and skilled orthodontist and general dentist taking care of you will help make sure your teeth remain healthy. They will make sure you have regular in –office cleanings to supplement your routine at home and they will be able to look out for any warning signs that there are problems brewing in your mouth. Having the right people on your team makes all the difference. Keep open communications with everyone and take your oral health seriously.
For more information about maintaining proper hygiene while wearing braces, contact Orthodontics Limited today.