Oral hygiene with braces is a little different than what you are used to and very important to a successful outcome. We have compiled some helpful tips, tricks, and other information to answer your questions about keeping your teeth and braces clean.
Once you have your orthodontic appliances or braces in place, keeping your teeth, gums and appliances clean is very important. Braces, wires, bands and retainers can all trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque. Careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal and snack is the best way to prevent plaque buildup, tooth decay and gum disease.
Follow Dr. Walker’s recommendations to learn how to keep up good oral hygiene while wearing braces and maintain a healthy smile for life.
When you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth carefully with water. A fluoride mouth rinse like ACT or Crest ProHealth can be very helpful in keeping your teeth healthy.
An interdental toothbrush (proxabrush) is another aid you might find useful to keep your teeth, braces and gums clean and healthy. It can be used to clean under orthodontic elastics and wires and around braces. Use this device slowly and carefully, so you do not damage your braces.
Interdental toothbrushes come in a variety of designs and colors so you can mix and match them with your regular toothbrush.
Orthodontic appliances tend to accumulate food particles and plaque just like teeth do. Every time you brush your teeth, brush your removable appliances. This is best done by holding the retainer under a stream of cold water and brushing it with a clean toothbrush (do not use toothpaste). For freshening your retainer, it may be dipped into a mild mouthwash solution for a few seconds. Click here for more information about retainer care.
For most situations, common sense will prevail and tell you what foods to avoid. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between wires and brackets. Also try to minimize your sugary foods as they cause tooth decay and related problems.
There are many soft foods to enjoy after getting braces, but there are some foods that could damage the braces and appliances. Here are some examples of common foods to avoid while wearing orthodontic braces: