Have questions about how to care for your braces? You’re not alone. Many of our patients ask us how they can maintain a healthy smile during orthodontic treatment.
Your braces can trap a lot of food, increasing your risk for cavities and gum disease. It’s important to know how to take care of your braces so you can also take good care of your teeth.
Here are some tips for how to take care of your braces:
- Practice good oral hygiene
- Use a floss threader
- Get fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinse
- Avoid certain foods
- Don’t ignore poking wires or brackets
- Keep your dentist appointments
1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Taking the time to properly brush and floss becomes even more important during orthodontic treatment. The last thing you want is to need large fillings or have yellow teeth once your orthodontic braces are removed.
Our Grand Rapids dentist orthodontist and the recommend you brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. Brushing your teeth helps remove plaque so you can avoid cavities and gum disease.
is an invisible film of bacteria that sticks to your teeth and gums. It’s important to remove plaque so it doesn’t harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. When brushing, make sure you’re getting the bristles in between the wires and your teeth.
How to Brush Your Teeth with Dental Braces
To protect your smile, you should brush:
- The outside surface of each tooth
- Where your gums and teeth meet, using a circular motion
- The inside surface of each tooth
- The chewing surfaces of your teeth last
2. Use a Floss Threader
Plaque loves to hide where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. That’s why it’s important for you to floss once a day to remove plaque and food particles caught between your teeth.
We understand that flossing with braces can be a hassle, but it’s important to take care of your teeth so you can smile with confidence once we remove your braces. We recommend using a to make flossing easier.
How to Floss with Braces
First, thread floss through the threader and slip it up behind your archwire. Next, pull the floss between two teeth and up under your gum margins. Make sure to rinse with clean water when you’re done.
3. Get Fluoridated Toothpaste and Mouth Rinse
Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel, decreasing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. For this reason, we recommend our patients use toothpaste and mouth rinse that contains fluoride.
4. Avoid Certain Foods
While you’re wearing braces, you’ll need to avoid foods that are sticky or difficult to chew. For example, you’ll want to cut an apple into bite-size pieces so you don’t accidentally loosen a bracket.
Common problem foods for braces that you’ll want to avoid include:
- Sticky, chewy foods like taffy, caramels, and jerky
- Hard foods like apples and carrots (unless cut into bite-size pieces)
- Crunchy foods like corn chips, popcorn, almonds, and corn nuts
- Sugary drinks like fruit juice, sports drinks, energy drinks, and pops
5. Don’t Ignore Poking Wires or Brackets
Do you have a wire poking your gums or a loose bracket? The sooner your ix an issue with your dental braces, the sooner your teeth can continue moving into optimal alignment. While some issues may need to be fixed by our dentist orthodontist, there’s a lot you can do at home, such as:
- Trimming poking wire with clean nail clippers
- Pressing on brackets that are irritating your cheeks
If you’re suffering from a loose bracket, however, you’ll need to have it replaced during your next visit with us.
6. Keep Your Dentist Appointments
During your orthodontic treatment, our Grand Rapids dentist will need to see you every few weeks to monitor your progress and adjust your teeth braces accordingly. You should also continue seeing us every six months for your routine teeth cleaning and oral examination.
Straighten Your Smile with Braces
Have questions about your orthodontic treatment? Dr. Adam Piotrowski DDS is a Grand Rapids, MI, dentist orthodontist who offers metal braces, Six Month Smiles®, and clear alignment therapy. For more information, call Precision Family Dental at (616) 949-1570, or contact us online to request an appointment.
This blog post has been updated.