A report in the Journal of the American Dental Association earlier this year found that more than 21 percent of adults have untreated cavities. Your orthodontist in Melbourne doesn’t want any of his patients — adults or kids — to fall into that category. That’s why it is so important that patients with braces follow a daily dental routine with braces. Having braces installed means you are actually more at risk of developing cavities or having your teeth stained during the process. Diligently keeping up with brushing, flossing and watching your diet is the best way to keep your teeth clean, strong, and healthy until your braces finally come off.
Here’s what that daily dental routine with braces should look like.
If you are going to take great care of your teeth with braces, you need to have the right tools. The following things will need to be a part of your daily routine:
- Soft bristled toothbrush
- Interdental brush
- Dental floss
- Floss threader (optional)
- Fluoride toothpaste
- Fluoride mouthwash
- Water Pik (optional)
Using Your Brushes
Some orthodontic toothbrushes will have longer bristles along the outside edges, and shorter bristles in the center. This design allows you to really work around your braces and get all the exterior surfaces of your teeth clean. Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes when you go through the routine. You should brush your teeth at least two to three times per day, and preferably after every meal. Make sure one of those brushing sessions is after your last meal of the day and before you go to bed. Use fluoride toothpaste every time you brush.
An electric toothbrush with soft bristles can be used instead of a regular toothbrush. Just be sure to set it to a slow or medium speed. If it’s brushing too fast, an electric toothbrush can break or loosen part of your braces.
An interdental toothbrush is a special orthodontic brush. It’s designed to fit in between the teeth and braces, so you can really clean those hard-to-reach spots. Using a fluoride mouthwash after brushing gives you one more layer of protection, because it allows you to flush those last bits of plaque out of your mouth. Plus, the fluoride helps to keep the enamel on your teeth strong.
Using Your Dental Floss or Floss Threader
Once you’re done brushing, it’s time to floss. Floss every single time that you brush your teeth, at least once a day — preferably before bed. Most patients are able to floss underneath their braces and between their teeth with a regular piece of dental floss. If you have trouble with this, a floss threader can be a lifesaver. The threader helps to get the floss underneath the wire on the braces, so you can floss in between all your teeth.
Once you’re done flossing, a Water Pik can be used to provide just one last bit of protection to your teeth and braces. The jets of water can blast loose bits of plaque away, on the chance that brushing and flossing miss them. Plus, the water removes the film inside your mouth that is created every time you eat or drink anything with sugar in it. That sugar coats the inside of the mouth and attracts more bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.
Pay Attention to What You Eat and Drink
Your Melbourne orthodontists office will talk to you and your parents about your diet, and we’ll provide lists of the types of foods you should avoid while wearing braces. Sugary snacks and drinks should be avoided as much as possible. Even natural sugars found in many fruits and vegetables can cause problems with braces. The same goes for foods that are hard or sticky. Hard foods can damage your braces. Sticky foods and candies are a pain in the neck to brush loose once they get stuck in between your braces and teeth, increasing the risk of cavities. Follow the dietary instructions your orthodontist gives you for the best chance of success! If you think you are a good candidate for braces or Invisalign in Melbourne, contact our office to schedule an appointment.