It’s extremely important when you’ve got braces to maintain a good oral health routine. You run the risk of having food caught in your appliance for extended periods of time, uneven staining after removal, and even accelerated tooth decay if you don’t keep up a good routine with your braces. There are a few extra steps you should add to the beginning and end of your day to ensure you’re happy with the results of your treatment. Here at Seabreeze Orthodontics we’ve come up with some hygiene tips to keep you and your braces in tip-top shape!
What You Eat Matters
If you’ve got braces, then you know to avoid certain foods. We know this can be annoying, but it’s for a good reason. Sticky foods like gum and caramel lead to hard-to-remove build-up because they easily get caught in wires and brackets. Avoiding these foods in the first place is the best strategy.
You should be wary of hard foods like nuts even though they don’t pose the same risk of gumming up your appliance. You can cause severe damage to your braces by chewing hard foods like nuts or ice, and then you’ll have to take time out of your day to have repairs done. So eat them in softer, smaller forms or avoid the hassle altogether by cutting these kinds of foods out completely,.
You should also watch your intake of highly acidic foods— whether you’ve got braces or not. These include items like soft drinks, citrus fruits, salsa, and vinegar. Acid damages tooth enamel over time— so even if you don’t cut these out completely, the less acid that you can subject your teeth to, the more healthy they’ll be.
Create Your Routine
You should make it a priority to brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, no matter who you are. Regular brushing keeps the mouth healthy, eliminates stubborn food particles, and leads to fresh breath. Having a set of bright white teeth is not the only benefit of maintaining a healthy mouth— one benefit is less obvious. Scientific research points to an increased likelihood of heart attacks in those who don’t brush regularly. You get a lot more than fresh breath out of your commitment to regular brushing, you get a strong healthy heart!
Access Made Easy
A daily brushing routine with braces begins just like all others— you roll out of bed, and your mouth’s got that morning breath unpleasant feeling. Let’s get that overnight sleep grime off your teeth. But before you start brushing, you’ve got to remove any elastic bands. This allows for easier access, and you can give the rubber bands a once over while they’re out to make sure everything’s looking nice and clean.
Take a Good Look
After you set your rubber bands to the side, take a second to check your braces in the mirror and examine them from every angle that you can. You’ll want to check for any glaring issues and to make sure everything’s looking right. You’ll have an easier time quickly spotting anything out of the ordinary once this becomes second nature to you. Be sure to stay on top of any broken brackets or wires that can sometimes go unnoticed for extended periods of time and potentially cause slow-downs in your treatment.
Brush! Brush! Brush!
Let’s brush! Make sure to get a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride. Begin cleaning in the same way you normally would, but pay extra attention to the areas behind your wires and around your brackets. Don’t be too rough but do your best to get in all the nooks and crannies. It never hurts to take a little extra time to get all over your braces, so set aside more time than the usual two minutes you take to brush.
Flossing with Braces
Though it may seem difficult to maneuver dental floss around your appliance at first, flossing with braces is not impossible. In fact, it’s very important to floss when you’ve got braces on, because now there are even more areas where food can become trapped.
You should use waxed dental floss because unwaxed floss can sometimes get caught on your brackets and shred, leading to an annoying clean-up process. Snap off a thread of about 18 inches or so of waxed floss. Place the thread between your teeth and gently move it up and down, but be careful around your wire. To prevent snapping, discomfort, and bending of your wire make sure to move the floss slow.
An Easy Fix
You might find yourself with food particles caught in your braces from lunch or a snack in between your morning and evening hygiene routines. It’s much more comfortable to dislodge these passengers as soon as you can instead of harboring them all through the afternoon. Many people with braces use a Waterpik to do this. A high-pressure stream of water is used by these devices to get into those hard to reach places.
Even though this device is helpful and effective it’s important to note that it isn’t a complete replacement for traditional floss. Feel free to use the Waterpik if you’re in a hurry, but don’t throw out that floss!
Still Not Sure
When it comes to healthcare, the best advice comes from meeting with a professional. That’s why if you’ve got further questions about how to care for your braces, don’t hesitate to call us! At Seabreeze Orthodontics we value patient understanding and open communication.
If you’re in the Myrtle Beach area, feel free to give us a call at 843-507-5246 if you’d like any orthodontic advice or have any questions.