Taking proper care of your braces can help protect your teeth, gums, and the braces themselves from damage. It can also help ensure that your orthodontic treatment runs smoothly and without delays.
Braces have all sorts of tiny spaces and crevices that should be carefully cleaned to prevent plaque and bacteria from building up inside and around them. Follow these steps to brush and floss effectively with braces.
Prepare to brush. Remove the elastics and any other removable components of your braces.
Brush your braces. Brush around the wires and pins of your braces with your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Brush each wire from the top to the bottom. Brush from tooth to tooth systematically to remove all plaque and debris.
Brush your teeth. Brush each tooth separately. Begin by holding your brush at a 45-degree angle against the gum line, then gently brush in a circular motion. Brush each tooth for about 10 seconds, making sure to brush both the outer and inner surfaces. This can be made much easier with an electric toothbrush with a round, rotating head.
Floss daily. Thread the floss between your teeth and the main wire. Slide the floss up and down the side of one tooth, then the other, gently pressing it between the first two teeth. Remove the floss gently, unthread it from behind the wire, and repeat the procedure between the next two teeth.
Rinse and check your teeth. After brushing and flossing, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash and check your teeth and braces in the mirror to ensure you haven't missed anything.
To keep your braces safe, you'll probably need to make a few dietary changes. The general rule is that soft, non-sticky foods are safe to eat while wearing braces, whereas hard, chewy, or crunchy foods should be avoided. Some examples are as follows:
Foods you can eat with braces:
- Dairy – yogurt, soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Eggs – cooked however you like
- Bread & Grains – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins, pasta, rice
- Meats/poultry – tender cooked meats, meatballs, lunch meats, etc.
- Vegetables – mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, beans
- Fruit – soft fruits, hard fruits cut into small pieces, applesauce, fruit juice, smoothies, berries
- Treats – ice cream, milkshakes, Jell-O, plain soft chocolates, peanut butter cups, brownies, soft cookies.
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Chewy foods – bagels, licorice, pizza crust, French bread
- Crunchy foods – popcorn, chips, ice, hard candies, thick pretzels
- Sticky foods – caramel candies, chewing gum, gummy candies
- Hard foods – nuts, uncooked carrots, toffee
- Foods that require biting into – apples, corn on the cob, carrots, ribs and chicken wings
Regular Orthodontic Appointments
You should see your orthodontist regularly to have your braces tightened and adjusted during your treatment. As a result, the braces will continue to function properly. It also allows your orthodontist to assess your progress and make sure there are no issues.
Regular Dental Appointments
You should also continue to see your regular dentist for cleanings and checkups as you normally do. Even the most diligent brushing and flossing routines may not be enough to remove hardened tartar. Professional cleanings and checkups are essential for oral health. Furthermore, your dentist will be able to keep track of your oral health and ensure that no cavities or other issues arise.