How Can You Properly Maintain Your Braces? The Answer will Surprise You…People with misaligned teeth may be at risk for speech impediments, difficulty chewing and eating, jaw/TMJ pain, gum disease, grinding and clenching, and tooth decay.
Braces move your teeth to their correct position by exerting pressure to your pearly whites over a certain period. In the end, your teeth are straightened out so that you don’t have to worry about any dental risk that may be associated with crooked teeth.
Besides straightening misaligned teeth, dental brackets and wires can be used for correcting bites as well as for cosmetic purposes. Orthodontic appliances should be worn for two years and during this time, proper care routine should be maintained to keep them clean. You should discuss with your orthodontist on the proper ways of maintaining your teeth aligning devices.
While each orthodontic appliance is doing its job to ensure that your crooked teeth are put into their proper alignment, these dental appliances can make it difficult to follow an oral hygiene routine. Reason being: a brace has more curves, hooks, and corners than your teeth, meaning food particles can be trapped more easily. You can now be sure that maintaining your orthodontic appliances takes time and effort. However, if you do it right, you get a healthy and glittering smile as your reward.
So how can you keep a healthy smile while wearing teeth aligning appliances? Here are some tips to help you to maintain your braces properly:
Good Oral Hygiene Habits
If you desire to keep your teeth healthy during the teeth-straightening procedure, then you must maintain a good oral hygiene routine. When you have teeth-aligning appliances on, it means there are more nooks and wires where food particles can get trapped easily, and you’re at a higher risk of plaque build-up. To avoid bacteria from growing, make sure you follow a well established daily dental hygiene routine that involves brushing, using mouthwash, and flossing regularly.
While brushing your teeth twice a day is the standard dental care recommendation when undergoing a tooth-straightening procedure, you should clean your pearly whites after every time you eat. Use a soft bristle brush that can dislodge food particles trapped in a brace or wire by forming around each brace and moving between the wires to remove particles. Here is the correct procedure to follow:
- Rinse your mouth with some water to loosen food particles stuck in and around your teeth-aligning appliances.
- Holding your toothbrush at 45-degree angle, carefully brush your gum line
- Clean the brackets by brushing at a downward angle on top of your brackets and at the bottom side at an upward angle
- Rinse your teeth again
Wearing orthodontic appliances can speed up the causes of tooth decay. When this happens, fluoride is your best defense. So, brush your teeth with fluoride-rich toothpaste and drink fluoridated tap water. If you can’t brush after every meal, then rinse your mouth well with water after every meal.
Daily flossing is important during the time you have orthodontic appliances on your teeth because you are more likely to have food particles trapped in and around brackets and wires. There are various ways of flossing when undergoing the teeth-straightening procedure, including using a floss threader, a water flosser, a waxed floss, or orthodontic brush.
You should talk with your orthodontist about which flossing method is suitable for you or special accessories that can make the procedure quite easier. Generally, floss threaders allow you to easily get between the wires, and water flossers give the best results. Encouraging a child with orthodontic appliances to floss is a challenge to many parents and guardians. You should help your child to floss.
Mouthwash is antibacterial, meaning besides rinsing away food particles stuck in your gum and teeth, it kills bacteria. Mouthwash can also relieve irritation and reduce swelling caused by a brace or wire rubbing on your gum. It also cleans cuts and sores, making them heal quickly and properly. Your orthodontic doctor may recommend a mouthwash that is rich in fluoride to slow down tooth decay.
Choose The Right Foods
Foods with high acid content will not only wear down your tooth enamel but can also damage your brackets and wires over time. You don’t avoid them entirely, but rather try to cut down on them and fill your diet with brace friendly food or low-acid food. Below are a few examples of each category:
High-acid Foods / Low- acid Foods
- High-acid foods – Pineapples, tomatoes, vinegar, sports drinks, soft drinks, salsa
- Low- acid foods – Mangoes, milk, bananas, carrots, eggs, water, meat, cucumbers, pasta
Hard foods like popcorns and nuts are not brace friendly foods and can damage your brackets and wires. Also, don’t include sticky foods like caramels and gum in your diet; they can break your wires. Contact your orthodontic expert for any broken brace.
Follow Your Orthodontic Doctor’s Instructions
Your doctor may give you additional instructions like using rubber bands to protect brackets. Follow these instructions to the letter to achieve the results that you desire from your dental appliances.
The Importance of Brace Maintenance
A teeth-straightening procedure can be quite expensive. So you want to see the value of your money after you’re done with the treatment. However, failure to take care of your brackets and wires may lead to teeth damage or delayed results. Proper brace maintenance means a healthy smile and oral hygiene come with numerous benefits:
- Clean and well maintained orthodontic appliances prevent dental caries
- Brackets and wires feel more comfortable when clean and boost your confidence
- Fresh Teeth aligning appliances lead to healthy gums
Discuss With Your Doctor
People respond differently to orthodontic procedures, and you could be one of those special cases. So, discuss with your orthodontic practitioner about the special needs of your brackets, wires, and teeth. If you need to take additional steps, then talk with the doctor to walk you through various ways of properly maintaining them.
Braces can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing if not properly installed and maintained. At Gluck Orthodontics, we use the latest technology and unique materials to provide you with a customized smile. If you have questions about maintaining orthodontic appliances and brace friendly food to take, contact Dr. Gluck; he is one of the most experienced orthodontists in Nashville.
2125 Blakemore Avenue
Phone: 615 269 5903
How Can You Properly Maintain Your Braces 2017
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.