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Put the Extra Effort in Your Oral Hygiene Routine While Wearing Braces

Your Oral Hygiene Routine While Wearing Braces

A straight smile is an exciting prospect to anticipate when getting braces, but remembering how to maintain your teeth along the way is vital to a gorgeous grill!  Braces require a unique challenge in oral hygiene, but the reward is worth it every day.  Knowing what equipment you need and how to use it will ensure lasting success and a stellar smile.

There are just a few simple steps that you need to follow to make an effort necessary for a happy, healthy smile in the end.  Let’s look at these oral hygiene tips while wearing braces or Clear Aligners

#1 – Regular brushing is a MUST!  Just as before your braces were applied, brushing is necessary for a lasting smile.  Braces give you much more to consider when it’s time to brush, and they require very regular attention – even more than before.  Believe it or not, an ounce of prevention during the time that you have braces will yield pounds and pounds of perfectly perfect teeth in the end!  Much can happen to your teeth if they are not well-maintained, which will have lasting effects once the hardware comes off.

First and most importantly, remember that braces are highly effective at holding onto the food you eat.  Brushing routinely removes this unsightly and inconvenient debris, as well as safeguards your teeth from staining, plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease.

You will want to brush your teeth after every meal – at least three times a day – as well as after enjoying any snacks throughout the day.  Keeping a brush and toothpaste with you is a great reminder and will enable you to form a new healthy habit wherever you go.  Don’t forget your bedtime!  Brushing your teeth well before you go to bed will significantly protect them from the bacteria that gather as you sleep.  Likewise, don’t forget a good brushing to start your day.

#2 – Choose the right brush for the job.  Braces give your toothbrush a challenging workout, and having the right type, replaced often is an essential part of dental health.  Soft, round-bristled brushes are ideal for regular brushing.  An electric toothbrush can be a highly effective method to clean your teeth exceptionally well.  For best results, we recommend that you brush at the gum line, as well as above and below your brackets.  A smaller, specialized brush explicitly created for braces is called an interdental brush.  This little apparatus allows you to clean small, hard-to-reach nooks and crannies between teeth and braces, around wires, and metal brackets.  In between regular tooth brushing, an interdental brush can be helpful to loosen debris and help you maintain an unmistakable smile.

Patience is vital – don’t rush the brush!  Watching yourself as you brush your teeth can help to make sure you don’t miss any areas of your mouth, especially those hard-to-reach spaces that a toothbrush alone might miss.  Use a light touch.  Regular, regular brushing is sufficient to maintain your teeth and braces.  Aggressive pressure can dislodge or damage both wires and brackets, so a soft hand is all that you’ll need.

#3 – Floss is the boss!  Floss, while a bit of a challenge, is an essential tool when fighting plaque – especially with braces.  Additionally, floss can reach areas where plaque buildup cannot be reached by a toothbrush alone.  Fortunately, there is a helpful tool known as an orthodontic flosser or floss threader to make this job much more manageable.  Waxed floss is designed to glide effortlessly between your teeth and may lessen the chance of snags on the wires of your braces.  We recommend that you floss at least once a day.  Be gentle and take your time; being too rough can irritate your gums and lead to infections.

#4 – A quick rinse can make a huge difference.  Between brushing and flossing, a swish with a mouthful of water can make the cleaning process much easier and protect your teeth’s enamel, fighting off plaque and gingivitis.  Rinsing your mouth with water before you brush can help loosen any food you may have trapped in your braces and make brushing a breeze.

Following flossing and brushing, a final rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash will complete your hygiene routine.  Swishing mouthwash for at least one minute will significantly help reduce any remaining biofilm that can lead to gingivitis.  Followed by a quick tongue scrape, you now have a fresh face to face the world!

#5 – The foods you choose determine your success.   Because your teeth can be harder to clean while wearing braces, it’s best to avoid foods that cause damage to your gums and tooth enamel – and to your braces themselves.

Sweet and starchy foods wreak havoc on your teeth and rapidly contribute to plaque buildup around your metal brackets.  This accumulation can be unsightly and can cause cavities, staining of the teeth, and even gum disease.  The more it collects, the harder it is to remove.

Likewise, highly acidic foods like tomatoes, pineapple, and sugary soft drinks rapidly erode the enamel on your teeth.  Once the enamel on your teeth is gone, you can’t get it back.  Water is the best defense against high-acid offenders.

Hard, crunchy foods are most damaging to the braces themselves.  Brittle candy or ice, a crisp apple or carrot, ting into a crunchy apple, or even some nuts may cause the wires to bend and the brackets to pop off.  Similarly, sticky or gummy foods like caramel, gum, taffy, etc., can pull wires and brackets from their places and create painful, inconvenient issues, requiring an unscheduled visit to your orthodontist’s office for repair.

Having braces doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy many of the foods mentioned, however cutting them up will significantly reduce the likelihood that they’ll cause damage to your dental work.  Corn on the cob, bagels, apples, carrots – all can be enjoyed in moderation.  Popcorn, however, should be avoided until your teeth are hardware-free.

#6 – Think about your teeth, even when you’re not thinking about your teeth.  Many people have unconscious routines that can cause big damage to their braces.  Nibbling on a pencil or pen cap, mindlessly biting your fingernails, or munching on ice can all be involuntary habits with significant consequences for your braces.  Busy hands are happy hands; perhaps a stress ball or fidget spinner will keep your fingers occupied and your braces intact.

If you participate in any athletics, always remember to wear a mouthguard.  Protection of your mouth includes the soft tissue of your cheeks, lips, and gums, and protecting them from a mouthful of metal is your best insurance policy against a painful visit to the orthodontist for additional repairs to your braces.

#7 – Don’t skip your dentist and orthodontist appointments.  Regular appointments with your dentist and orthodontist allow them to monitor your progress and will ensure that your teeth are being well cared for.  Routine checks and cleanings will allow them to spot any warning signs that could lead to a more significant problem.  They will ensure that you’re using the right brush, paste, floss, and habits to guarantee the best possible outcome for your smile.  If there are issues, they will teach you techniques to fix them before anything gets out of hand.

Establishing strong oral hygiene habits while wearing braces is your greatest bet for a successful outcome when the braces come off.  Your brilliant smile will be one of your greatest assets!

About Odin House Dental

Creating an Excellent Patient Experience…

Over the last two decades, Odin House Dental Surgery has been proud to serve the suburb of Innaloo and has grown to include ten dentists, three oral health therapists, and ten support staff. We have eight surgery rooms, a sterilisation room, a laboratory (where we make your mouthguards, whitening trays, and models), as well as two waiting rooms, which include a small play area for children. We also have a unique “special room” complete with a massage chair, large screen TV, and even X Box!

Our dentists are all members of the Australian Dental Association and are local to Perth, so it would be no surprise if you have seen us out and about in the community.

Odin House Dental Surgery
Suite 3/8 Odin Rd
Innaloo WA 6018

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