It is very important to limit dental plaque as much as possible by brushing and flossing every day; but for patients wearing braces this may be a more difficult task. Orthodontics are implemented to straighten teeth; for many patients this could take years allowing harmful plaque to form. Plaque buildup can lead to dental decay and/or gum disease so controlling it as much as possible is crucial for good dental health.
What you eat and drink play a big role in your oral health. While wearing braces, there are some foods that can support good dental health but are more difficult to consume … many fruits and vegetables must be cut into small pieces as biting directly into them could damage orthodontics. They are still good for you, but take the time to prepare them properly. Other healthy snacks like nuts or popcorn are ill advised as they can damage braces.
Be mindful about what you drink as well. Sodas and flavored drinks can contain a lot of sugar which can increase dental plaque. If you should occasionally enjoy one of these beverages, carefully use a straw to allow beverage to bypass teeth as much as possible. Water is a much better choice (sugar free flavorings or infuse with fruit for variety).
Caring for your teeth by brushing and flossing every day takes time and commitment. Your orthodontist will demonstrate the best way to brush and floss … the right tools will make this daily task easier and more efficient.
Consider an electronic toothbrush with soft bristles; there are flossing products designed specifically for orthodontics patients that facilitate flossing around braces.
Start by removing anything temporary like elastics. Pay attention to each individual tooth … thoroughly clean them one by one. Brush front and back making sure to brush around the gum line. Ideally you should brush following every meal, but minimally twice every day.
Use a fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens dental enamel making teeth more resistant to decay. If your orthodontist recommends a fluoride rinse, use as directed.
Eventually those braces will be removed to reveal straightened teeth and a beautiful smile. In addition to brushing and flossing every day, make sure you keep your six month appointments with your regular dentist throughout orthodontic treatment. Periodic visits with your orthodontist are not intended to take the place of twice yearly cleaning appointments. Contact us to set up your next appointment!