Dental Hygiene Tips for Braces
By Kellyn Hodges on August 20, 2013
If you want to have a smile that looks great and is healthy as well, one of the best ways to achieve this is through advanced orthodontic care. By meeting with a skilled orthodontist, you can finally get teeth that are straight, properly aligned, and optimally functional.
One of the best ways to achieve a straight and beautiful smile is traditional braces treatment.
Braces use brackets, wires, bands, and careful application of tension in order to straighten and improve the overall alignment of smile. The treatment with braces will take several months to ensure effectiveness, but the results are well worth the duration of treatment.
Hygiene Challenges of Metal Braces
One reason that braces can prove problematic for some patients is that they pose a number of difficulties when it comes to proper maintenance and dental hygiene. The brackets, wires, and bands make normal brushing and flossing more difficult, and these orthodontic appliances can also make it difficult or a poor idea to eat certain foods.
When you discuss braces with your orthodontist, you'll receive full information for proper care during your consultation. Here are some basics to keep in mind.
Foods and Drinks to Avoid
When you have braces in place, there are certain foods that will be difficult to eat or that could lead to tooth damage if you aren't careful. It's not just hard foods either. Acidic foods can lead to tooth structure damage as well as damage to the braces themselves.
With this in mind, be sure to avoid the following foods:
- Chewing gum
- Hard candies
- Peanut butter
This next set of foods and beverages should be consumed with caution. Patients are advised to brush and floss immediately after consuming the following:
- Soft drinks
- Soy sauce
- Citrus fruits
Brushing and Flossing with Braces
Whether you have traditional braces in place or fast-acting adult braces, brushing and flossing becomes more difficult. And yet proper brushing and flossing is crucial when you have braces in place since food particles can be caught in the brackets and wires, leading to tooth decay.
It's important that you use a toothbrush with a small head, which allows you to clean the frontal area of the braces, the underside of the braces, and the topside of the braces along the gumline. You'll also clean the cusps of the teeth and the corners of the mouth as normal. Brush at least three times a day, though preferably after every meal.
Flossing is going to be a bit of a hassle since floss threaders will be needed to properly access the spaces between the teeth. Floss threaders are easy to come by and are available at any drug store and most grocery stores. The threaders will help you loop your floss under the wires in order for you to floss teeth like normal. Be sure to brush at least once a day, though after every meal is best.
Other Concerns for Proper Braces Care
When you have braces, you'll return to your orthodontist periodically for follow-up care. This will be to check on progress, make adjustments to the bands or wires, or to fix any possible issues you may be facing. If you should notice any problems with broken wires or brackets, be sure to speak with our team so the matter can be addressed in a timely manner.
Learn More About Orthodontic Care
For more information about braces and various tips for effective orthodontic care, be sure to contact our Philadelphia area orthodontics center today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve excellent dental health and wellness.