Braces make your oral hygiene routine challenging. Simple brushing and flossing can seem like a herculean task if you have braces in your mouth. Here are some useful tips with which you can easily maintain your oral hygiene routine even while wearing braces.
Watch What You Eat
A healthy balanced diet is the first and foremost step you can take towards good oral hygiene especially if you are wearing braces. This is because the structure of the braces provides ample of opportunities for food debris to get stuck to your teeth and in between the gums. This in turn increases the risk of tooth decay and gum infections which may further cause oral health complications. Avoid stick, sugar-rich or hard foods such as caramel, hard toffees, ice cubes which may harm the brackets or the wires, get easily stuck in your mouth and eventually cause cavities or decay.
Brushing and Flossing
These two aspects of oral hygiene become more complicated if you are wearing braces. Make sure you use a soft-bristles bi-level brush or an electric brush with the moderate setting. An interdental toothbrush can also be used as it is ideal to reach in those difficult spots within your braces. For flossing, you can use a floss threader. It is basically a plastic loop with a long and pointed end. Thread the floss through the eye of the loop, and then thread the pointed end under the archwire of braces. Pull it through in a way that the floss runs under the archwire and then floss as you would normally. Repeat this action for every space between the teeth.
Maintaining Removable Orthodontic Appliances
Invisalign aligners are an advanced option as compared to braces for teeth straightening. Also, retainers are mandatory post braces or aligners to retain the results. Both of them are removable. So in case you are wearing aligners or retainers, it is important that you understand how to clean them properly. You should brush them as instructed every time you take them out or put them back on. You can also soak them in a glass of water with a denture cleaning tablet if recommended by your orthodontist. If you are not wearing them for longer duration, make sure they are stored in their case.
Befriend Topical Fluoride for Better Results
If you are unable to clean your teeth properly because of your braces, harmful plaque and bacteria may start accumulating on your teeth. These can eat away at your teeth and they will start losing essential minerals which will make them more vulnerable to decay and infections. Topical fluoride application is your best defense in such situation. This is because the fluoride restores the lost essential minerals on your teeth, helps remove the harmful bacteria and hence prevents further damage to your teeth and gums. A sodium fluoride gel is often recommended especially to those who wear braces, in order to prevent tooth decay. However, it should be kept in mind that regular brushing and flossing should not be replaced with a fluoride gel. It only adds to the results of brushing and flossing. Keep the gel for a minute on your teeth after application and then spit it out. Do not drink or eat anything for 30 minutes after this to ensure that the active ingredient stays on your teeth.
Don’t Miss out on Your Dental Checkups
It is very important that you keep up with your regular dental checkups. Even if you think you are doing all you can to maintain a health oral hygiene routine, you should go for regular dental checkups. Your dentist is the best judge of whether or not your oral care routine is giving desired results. You can also discuss any difficulties you may be having while cleaning your teeth while wearing braces, or share your concerns regarding any removable appliances you may be wearing for your orthodontic treatment. If required your dentist can prescribe a professional dental cleaning which is highly effective since it can be customized for teeth with braces. So do not miss out on your regular dental checkups and you can be rest assured that your mouth is squeaky clean despite the presence of braces.
So don’t be discouraged by braces. With a bit of patience and dedication, you can maintain a healthy smile throughout your braces treatment and end up with a perfect and beautiful smile. Try the tips described above and bid goodbye to the hassles of maintaining a good oral hygiene routine even with your braces on!
Dr. Satish Pai – an Ivy League trained dentist and a faculty at Columbia University, believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great while boosting confidence. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics, he is dedicated to creating perfect smiles for his patients and also to educating people with his engaging articles about all things related to different types of braces and oral health. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing.