By caring for your braces properly you can help provide proper care for your teeth and gums as well. By caring for your teeth and braces well you can help keep your orthodontic treatment on track and prevent any potential complications.
The Important Components of Oral Hygiene
Braces, just like your teeth, can accumulate bacteria and debris in all of the crevices and on the braces themselves. If not thoroughly cleared away you risk developing serious conditions. Follow these steps to brush and floss effectively with braces.
Before brushing. Be sure to remove any removable pieces or parts that are attached to your braces.
How to brush your braces. Holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, brush around the wires and pins of your braces. Brush from the top of every wire to the bottom. Move from tooth to tooth methodically to try and get all plaque and debris brushed away.
Brushing your teeth. Brush your teeth one by one. Start by placing your brush at a 45-degree angle on the gum line, and then brush in a circular motion, applying gentle pressure. Dedicate about 10 seconds per tooth, and brush all the outer and inner tooth surfaces of each one. An electric toothbrush with a round, rotating head can help to make this process much easier.
Floss every single day. When you begin to floss you will want to thread the piece of floss between your tooth and the wire of your braces. Gently press the floss between the first two teeth, and slide it up and down along the side of one tooth, and then the other. Gently remove the floss, unthread it from behind the wire, and then repeat the process between the next pair of teeth.
Rinse your teeth thoroughly. You can take the time to rinse and examine your teeth after you've thoroughly flossed in order to make sure that you've reached every area.
How Your Diet May Change With Braces
You'll probably need to make a few dietary adjustments to protect your braces. The general rule of thumb is that any soft, non-sticky foods are safe to eat with braces, while hard, chewy or crunchy foods should be avoided. Here are some examples:
What foods can you eat with braces?
- Dairy: Yogurt, soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks.
- Eggs: Cooked any way you prefer.
- Bread & Grains: Soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins, pasta, rice.
- Meats/poultry: Tender-cooked meats, meatballs, lunch meats, etc.
- Seafood: Seafood is generally soft so you are safe to eat various types.
- Vegetables: Mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, beans.
- Fruit: Soft fruits, hard fruits cut into small pieces, applesauce, fruit juice, smoothies, berries.
- Treats: Ice cream, milkshakes, Jell-O, plain soft chocolates, peanut butter cups, brownies, soft cookies.
Which foods should be avoided when you have braces?
- Chewy foods: Bagels, licorice, pizza crust, French bread.
- Crunchy foods: Popcorn, chips, ice, hard candies, thick pretzels.
- Sticky foods: Caramel candies, chewing gum, gummy candies.
- Hard foods: Nuts, uncooked carrots, toffee.
- Difficult to Bite Foods: Apples, corn on the cob, carrots, ribs and chicken wings.
Attending Your Orthodontist Appointments
You will need to visit your orthodontist for regular tightening and adjustments while you complete orthodontic treatment. This will ensure that the braces continue to do their job properly. It also gives your orthodontist an opportunity to evaluate your progress and ensure there are no problems.
Routine Dental Care Visits
You also should continue visiting your regular dentist for cleanings and checkups, just like you usually do. Professional cleanings and checkups are essential for oral health because even the most rigorous brushing and flossing routine might not remove hardened tartar. In addition, your dentist will be able to monitor your oral health and ensure there are no cavities or other problems developing.