Patients wearing braces need to be ever vigilant when it comes to keeping their braces, teeth and gums clean. By following your orthodontist’s instructions on oral hygiene and avoiding certain foods, you can maintain healthy teeth and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. Plaque is your enemy. If plaque is left on your teeth, around the braces, you can develop swollen gums, bad breath, scarred & discolored teeth, even cavities.
Caring for Retainer
Retainers, just like your teeth collect plaque, bacteria and food particles. You should clean your retainer everyday! Keep your retainer soaking when it is not in your mouth. Use a mouthwash rinse or denture cleaning agent to freshen it up and keep it free of bacteria. Keep your retainer away from heat; the plastic can crack if it gets too dry or too hot. Try not to bend the wires; flipping your retainer in your mouth can do this.
Foods to avoid
Patients should avoid foods that are sticky, hard or chewy. They should also avoid any food and drinks that are known to cause cavities. Patients should brush, floss and rinse their mouth regularly between meals.
The foods below are known to cause breakage of orthodontic appliances and are examples of what NOT to eat:
- beef jerky
- hard or sticky candy
- corn chips
- crisp taco shells
- whole apples
- soft drinks
- candy bars
Brushing with braces
Now that you have braces, your teeth are more difficult to clean, so you have to be very careful to keep those new braces clean. You should brush your teeth properly after every meal and snack. Always keep your toothbrush handy, you should even be brushing at school or work after lunch. You will also need to replace your toothbrush more often, since the braces will make it wear out quicker.
Flossing with braces
Flossing with braces is a bit on the tricky side, so it takes a few minutes to perfect. But don’t give up, flossing is very important to the health of your teeth.
The interdental brush is especially good in cleaning the tooth surface next to the braces.
The water jet is an effective tool to remove plaque and debris lodged deep between teeth and around braces. The water jet shoots a pulsing stream of water that dislodges remaining food particles. Adding an antiseptic dental rinse to the water is recommended. Use the water jet after your regular brushing and flossing routine.
When you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth carefully with water or antiseptic dental rinse.
An antiseptic dental rinse and anticavity rinse such as A.C.T. can help with minor gum irritations from braces and inflammations. Also used to cleanse canker sores, minor wounds, and other mouth and gum irritations, this mouth rinse removes debris, enabling healing to occur.