While having braces on your teeth, the teeth need extra care to protect them from tooth decay, staining and gum diseases. Also, you should take care to avoid damaging the braces. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, you should avoid these activities: eating chewy or sticky candy, eating hard or crunchy food, biting your lips, breathing through your mouth, pushing your teeth with your tongue.
Brush your teeth.
Brushing your teeth twice a day is the standard advice for oral care. However, it is advisable to brush your teeth after every time you have eaten – even after a snack in the afternoon or some late-night supper. Why? Because food will easily get stuck in the braces, and the longer this food stays trapped, the greater the chance of increasing dental problems. Use the orthodontic toothbrush, or the electric toothbrush if you prefer.
You should start by rinsing your mouth with water to loosen the food that stays in and around your braces. Then it is very important to brush your teeth at the gum line, and on both sides of the braces. Start brushing your gum line first, turning your brush at an angle of 45 degrees. After that, clean the braces, brushing downward on the upper braces and upward on the lower ones. Rinse your mouth once more after brushing.
Flossing is another important cleaning method. Floss your teeth at least once a day. You should floss not only the braces but also under the wires. To make flossing the wires easier, use special floss or orthodontic flossers. These types of floss can be found easily at any drug store. Waxed floss slides much easier between the teeth than un-waxed floss, and it is also less likely to hitch on your braces.
If there is spaces between your teeth, you can use the interdental (interproximal) brush to clean between the teeth. Other options for hard-to-reach areas is the water flosser, also called an irrigator. This device uses a stream of pulsating water to remove the plaque and food debris between your teeth and the gum line. You should also use a mouthwash, such as Listerine, Colgate, Crest, or any other recognized brand,to remove any bacteria leftafter flossing and brushing.
Be aware of what you eat while using braces. Eating too much sweet and starchy food will allow the plaque to develop around your braces, which increases the risk of staining, cavities and gum diseases.
Sticky foods, dried foods, caramel, and chewing gum will all easily get stuck in your braces and are hard to remove. Even some healthy foods such as crispy apples and raw carrots can damage the wires because of their hard texture. Cut them into small, bite-sized pieces.
If you forget to bring your toothbrush along, just quickly rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash and brush as soon as you can.
Sometimes, the braces or wires may prick your lips. If this happens, you can put a special wax on them to prevent this from happening. Ask your orthodontist or buy it at any drug store.