As with everything, braces work the best if cared for properly. Braces may seem complicated to care for, but keeping them clean and in good shape can be made simple with the proper techniques. Taking good care of your teeth and braces is key to getting the results you want. Braces add more spaces where plaque and food can get trapped, which can cause tooth decay and stains. Keeping your teeth and gums clean and free of gunk can improve the overall health of your mouth.
Proper care can shorten the time you have to wear your braces and can also improve the look of your teeth during and after braces. After all, you wouldn’t want to get your braces taken off and then discover that you have white spots on your teeth from where the brackets were. Caring for teeth and braces is not the same as with no braces, but it does not have to be a difficult process. Here are some things to keep in mind after your braces are put on and your routine changes a bit:
Brush around your brackets
Brushing after every meal is a great way to maintain the health of your teeth and gums with braces. Clearing the area of any plaque that may get stuck in and around brackets reduces the time that teeth are exposed to the harmful effects. There is simply more material for plaque to stick to with braces which means the whole area needs to be brushed more frequently. Brush your teeth for about two minutes at a 45-degree angle and make sure to get above and below the wire. Be gentle and mindful to not damage the braces but brush firmly enough that you are making good contact between the teeth and the bristles.
Do not brush with any elastics attached to the brackets. If you were instructed to wear elastics by Dr. Reddick, remove them while brushing and replace them with fresh ones.
Floss under your brackets
Flossing seems to be one of the trickier tasks for people with braces, but it is still an important element of oral hygiene. It is extremely helpful to floss after every meal to ensure that all food particles are removed and are not sticking in between the teeth. Gently thread floss under the wire and work it between the teeth and wire to get rid of anything that could be stuck between the teeth and the wire. Do not pull on the wire when flossing, and make sure to repeat this process between all teeth.
Swish with fluoride
Completing your brushing and flossing routine with a fluoride rinse can help seal the deal on making sure all food particles are removed from around the brackets and wires of teeth. A fluoride rinse can often reach and rinse away any hard to reach spots that may have been missed or just dislodged by brushing and flossing. It can also help keep your pearly whites at their whitest and prevent cavities.
Inspect and prevent
Putting a little extra effort into your routine is worth it in the end when your braces come off and your beautiful smile is revealed. So if you go through with putting that extra effort into caring for your teeth and braces, put the cherry on top by giving your whole mouth a good look. Open wide and check out how you did in the mirror. If you still see some plaque build up or a piece of food stuck in between your teeth or in the wire, it may be a sign that your job was not as thorough as you thought. Take care of the spots you missed and consider brushing for a bit longer next time or putting a little more effort into flossing.
Doing so can prevent damage to teeth. Dealing with both cavities or root canals at the same time as braces is not a fun experience for anyone. Prevent any excess visits to Dr. Reddick and the dentist by caring for your teeth and braces properly and inspecting the area thoroughly.
Wear mouthguard if playing sports
To avoid any damage to the braces or to your mouth while playing sports, a mouthguard is an excellent measure of protection. Even the American Dental Association recommends wearing a mouthguard on both top and bottom teeth for people involved in sports who have braces. Ask Dr. Reddick about options for mouthguards and proper use.