At North Georgia Orthodontics, we encourage patients to establish a program of preventative dental care early in their lives. The best way to solve a dental problem is to prevent it in the first place by maintaining proper oral hygiene. That means brushing and flossing 2-3 times per day in a circular motion. We recommend brushing your teeth for at least two minutes. Try timing yourself. There’s a good chance you’re not brushing nearly long enough. We always say, prevention is the best practice!
Patients wearing braces need to be especially vigilant when it comes to keeping their braces, teeth and gums clean. By following our orthodontist’s instructions on oral hygiene and avoiding certain foods, you can maintain healthy teeth and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. Plaque is your enemy. If plaque is left on your teeth, around the braces, you can develop swollen gums, bad breath, scarred & discolored teeth, even cavities. Here are some best practices for maintaining execllent oral hygiene while in braces:
Caring for Your Retainer
Retainers, just like teeth, collect plaque, bacteria and food particles. You should clean your retainer everyday! Keep your retainer soaking when it is not in your mouth. Use a mouthwash to freshen it up and keep it free of bacteria. Keep your retainer away from heat; the plastic can crack if it gets too dry or too hot. Try not to bend the wires; flipping your retainer in your mouth can do this.
Foods to Avoid
Patients should avoid foods that are sticky, hard or chewy. They should also avoid any sugary food or drink that is known to cause cavities. Patients should brush, floss and rinse their mouth regularly between meals, or at least twice a day.
The foods below are known to cause broken orthodontic appliances and are examples of what NOT to eat:
- beef jerky
- hard or sticky candy
- corn chips
- crisp taco shells
- whole apples
- soft drinks
- candy bars
Brushing with Braces
Now that you have braces, your teeth are more difficult to clean, so you have to be very careful to keep those new braces clean. You should brush your teeth properly after every meal and snack. Always keep your toothbrush handy! You should even be brushing at school or work after lunch. You should also replace your toothbrush more often, since braces will wear it out quicker.
Flossing with Braces
Flossing with braces is a bit on the tricky side, so it takes a few minutes to perfect. But don’t give up, flossing is very important to the health of your teeth.
The interdental brush is especially good in cleaning the tooth surface next to the braces.
The water jet is an effective tool to remove plaque and debris lodged deep between teeth and around braces. The water jet shoots a pulsing stream of water that dislodges remaining food particles. Adding an antiseptic dental rinse to the water is recommended. Use the water jet after your regular brushing and flossing routine.
A flouride rinse that helps prevent tooth decay by killing harmful bacteria and replenishing minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to harmful acids. Rinsing does not replace brushing. You should rinse after brushing and flossing.