Maintenance To Make Life Easier with Braces
During orthodontic treatment, your braces will require thorough maintenance to ensure continued dental health. Ultimately you will need to spend a little longer brushing your teeth and it is important to always consider which foods are best to eat during orthodontic treatment. Initially, this might seem a little daunting, but it’s really quite straightforward, and the time you spend wearing braces will quickly pass (although it may not seem like it during treatment.) Before you know it however, they will be removed to fully reveal your newly straightened, healthy and beautiful smile. Initially, when your braces are placed, the staff at Ballard Orthodontics will carefully explain how to take care of your braces each day and will review your hygiene routine. But just in case you would like to refresh your memory, we have put together this article to help make this process more automatic for you during your orthodontic treatment.
Cleaning Your Braces
You will need to brush your teeth more frequently when wearing braces because of all the various pieces and parts glued to your teeth including brackets, wires, springs and rubber bands. All of these can trap food and plaque and if not thoroughly cleaned, your teeth can become stained or even begin to get cavities. Now normally you need to spend two minutes cleaning your teeth, but while you have your braces on, don’t feel bad if it takes you a little longer to thoroughly brush your entire mouth. Additionally, make sure you brush your teeth after each meal and before bedtime. Giving your mouth a quick rinse after a snack is always a good idea as well as it is important to carefully remove any food that may have become stuck in all the hardware on your teeth.
How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces
To brush your teeth with braces on, always use a soft toothbrush. Additionally, make sure you brush all your tooth surfaces however specifically focus on the area between the braces and the gum tissue. This is an area that tends to accumulate a significant amount of food and plaque and the area where staining and decay is often present at the completion of orthodontic treatment. Whether you use a manual toothbrush, or a motorized toothbrush isn’t as important as simply making sure you are effectively cleaning your teeth with whatever you use. Brushing your teeth in small circular motions is ideal however difficult with braces on. You may find it easier to move the tooth brush across the front surface of your teeth from side to side. As long as you don’t use too much pressure this technique can be very effective in removing the ‘cavity bugs’.
To clean in between your teeth a ‘water flosser’ or ‘Water Pik’ is a very helpful tool. Think of this as a glorified squirt gun that spays water in between your teeth. After a good tooth brushing, it is amazing to see just how much food you then remove with a Water Pik. And some argue water flossers are better than regular flossing. Additionally, you can use an interproximal brush which is shaped like a small Christmas Tree that is specifically designed for cleaning in between braces. And lastly flossing between your teeth can be challenging with braces on but at Ballard Orthodontics we have special flossing aids that can be used to make that part of your teeth cleaning routine a breeze.
At Ballard Orthodontics, we can supply you with all the teeth cleaning tools you need to keep your smile and mouth feeling fresh and healthy.
How to Floss with Braces
Now another quick word on flossing; When flossing your teeth with braces on thread the floss under the wire and pull the floss gently between your teeth, moving it up and down so you clean any hard to reach areas. It’s generally best to aim to floss at least once a day. But for a much quicker approach, consider a floss threader specifically designed for use with braces. These were developed to enable easier flossing and can be a good alternative if you find traditional flossing difficult to make work and time consuming. We can always demonstrate how to use floss threaders if you would like to try this tool and we have plenty of them free of charge for your use at Ballard Orthodontics.
Pack a Small Dental Travel Kit
It’s a good idea to put together a small travel kit so that you can brush your teeth at school or at work. Your kit should include your toothbrush, all your flossing equipment, fluoride toothpaste, and you might want to carry a small bottle of water or a travel-sized fluoride mouthwash as well. Another thing you may find helpful is to pack some orthodontic wax to help with any pokey wires or sharp edges.
What To Do If Your Braces Irritate Your Mouth
Sometimes, with all that is in your mouth, you may find your lips or cheeks becoming a little irritated. These irritated areas can be remedied more often than not with a small piece of orthodontic wax. Simply place a piece of wax on the braces, wires, etc that are doing the irritating and your cheeks and lips will thank you for providing a smooth surface for them to enjoy.
Additionally, if a wire is irritating your cheeks or lips, you can try using a pencil eraser to gently bend the wire and then cover it with wax. And, relative to placing the wax, simply break off a small piece of it and roll it in your hands to warm it, this softens the wax slightly. It can then be more easily molded to fit over the offending wire. In any case, you should make an appointment at Ballard Orthodontics and they can remedy the situation more permanently.
Choosing Foods That Won’t Break Your Braces
To ensure you don’t break your braces off, it’s best to not eat any hard foods. If your taste buds demand you eat a particularly hard food, then cut it into small pieces and chew with your back teeth to help avoid damaging your braces. Foods that are very sticky or sweet can also be problematic because they can cause white spots and decay. Additionally, sticky foods are tricky to thoroughly remove from in between brackets and wires. Generally, it is better to avoid very sugary foods during orthodontic treatment and especially when choosing a snack.
Remember To Schedule Regular Checkups and Hygiene Appointments
During treatment, it is vital to keep up with your regular dental checkups and especially with your dental cleanings. These appointments enable your dental health to be closely monitored, so you can be assured of a beautiful smile once orthodontic treatment is complete. Regular hygiene appointments allow your teeth to be professionally cleaned even while you wear braces. You may find your hygiene appointments may take a little longer because your hygienist will need to ensure every bracket and wire is thoroughly cleaned around.
Of course, Ballard Orthodontics in Sandpoint and Bonner's Ferry Idaho, is here to assist you with every step of your journey towards your straighter smile. Please ask if there is something you don’t quite understand or if you encounter a problem that you don’t know how best to deal with.