Good oral hygiene is important during all stages of your life, but when you have metal braces, it can help prevent your teeth from getting stained, reduce plaque buildup, and protect the health of your gums. Braces are not hard to care for and their maintenance doesn’t have too many steps further than regular teeth cleaning! If you follow all the instructions and recommendations given by an orthodontic professional, your result will be a beautiful, confident smile.
What does a care routine with braces look like and how does it differ from what you’ve done before braces?
Brush Regularly with a Soft Toothbrush
Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time is always recommended but especially when it comes to your time with braces. No matter how long you have braces, a soft-bristled brush or rounded electric brush is a great choice because they are gentler on your teeth and gums, and just as effective at cleaning your teeth.
Before you begin brushing, take off any rubber bands or other removable accessories. Then, start brushing at the gum line, holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards your gums. Continue brushing at several angles and in gentle, circular motions to make sure you cover the whole surface of your tooth.
Floss & Use Mouthwash
A toothbrush won’t reach all the crevices and cracks between each tooth, so you should floss at least once a day as well. This may sound a little tricky with metal braces but using care products for braces, such as a floss threader and an interproximal brush, will help you get in between each tooth to remove food particles the toothbrush may have missed. For a little extra attention, you could use an oral irrigator, like a Waterpik or Water Jet, as well as rinse with mouthwash.
Be Careful What You Eat & Drink
Food and drink restrictions are one of the most common topics that come up when discussing how to care for braces on your teeth. It may be tough to give up some of your favorites, but the good news is that it’s only temporary! Avoiding sticky and crunchy foods is important as they can loosen or damage the braces. Smile Orthodontics also recommends brushing and/or using mouthwash after every meal to remove any trapped pieces of food and keep your braces clean.
Your orthodontist will provide a list of food and drinks you should avoid after your metal braces are installed, including:
- Caramels, taffy, and gum
- Whole raw carrots (cut them into strips)
- Hard candy, suckers, and peanut brittle
- Whole hard apples (cut them into pieces)
- Pop and other fizzy drinks
- Sports drinks and juices high in sugar
At Smile Orthodontics, our goal is to help you learn how to take care of braces and keep your teeth in good shape. When braces are first put on, we will sit down with you to review how to take care of braces at home and demonstrate the best brushing and flossing techniques. Your orthodontist will also talk about what to do if braces break or if you experience pain while they’re on. Plus, Smile Dental and Orthodontics teams work together to ensure you have the best overall oral health care. With regular brushing and flossing, the quicker the braces can do their work and have you smiling for a lifetime!