Tips & Care
Having braces may make brushing or flossing more difficult, and we want your teeth to continue to stay healthy throughout treatment.
Here are a few tips on how to brush and floss with braces:
- Make sure to floss daily! When patients start treatment, they are given a goody bag with braces essentials, one of them being a special tool to help floss. Pass the tool underneath the archwire with a piece of floss threaded with the tool and pull up on the threader to get the floss beneath the wire. Using an up and down motion, make sure to get the sides of each tooth and under the gums with the floss.
- Brushing well with braces is essential to keep up with dental health. Using a soft toothbrush, brush both above and below the braces in circular motions and be sure to take your time with brushing all of your teeth. Efficient brushing will result in healthy, pink gums while a lack In brushing will result in red, swollen gums.
Braces also require some care to ensure that the treatment progresses smoothly.
Here are some problems that can occur with braces and what habits to avoid:
- Biting ice can put strain on the braces and result in a loose bracket.
- Chewing on pens or pencils can put strain on the wire, causing a bent wire or loose bracket.
- Eating chewy foods like caramel causes loose bands, which can be very irritating and require an appointment to fix it.
- Biting into harder foods like whole apples causes bracket displacement, which requires an appointment to glue the bracket back in place.
- Anything like crunchy granola, popcorn, hard candy, chips, and gum can cause brackets to break – be sure to avoid these foods.
Aligners, although they are not attached to your teeth like braces, still require some maintenance to make sure you get the most out of the treatment.
Here are some tips for caring for your invisalign.
- Try to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day. This will maximize teeth movement and will allow for the fastest progression through the trays.
- Aligners must be kept clean and odor free. Thoroughly brush the aligners once a day.
- Do not sanitize trays by putting them in boiling water, bleach, or the dishwasher as this will ruin the trays.
- Before eating, always remove the trays. When you are done eating, floss and brush your teeth before putting aligners back in to ensure that no harmful substances are being held against your teeth after eating.
- Because aligners are made of plastic they can be ruined by heat. Avoid leaving them in places like the car.
- If the aligners are not being worn, be sure to leave them in the case given. Putting them in a napkin can put the aligners at risk of being thrown away.
- Avoid chewing on hard objects with the aligners in, as it can damage or warp the trays.
How to Care for Your Braces
Braces are the traditional treatment for correcting the alignment of your teeth, involving the use of metal brackets and wires that are fixed to your teeth throughout the duration of your treatment.
This treatment is incredibly effective, and still a very popular treatment today. For your braces to be effective, however, they need to be properly cared for. Dr. Tim Dumore & Team is here to help.
Oral Hygiene and Your Braces
Brushing and flossing are two essential habits that should be done every single day. These habits are crucial for eliminating plaque and bacteria in your mouth to reduce your risk for developing issues like cavities and gum disease. While important every day, these habits become especially important when you have braces.
Brushing and flossing with braces is different, and more involved, than brushing and flossing normally. In addition to brushing in the morning and then again before bed, it is highly recommended that you brush after every meal. When you brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush. To brush the front surfaces of your teeth, angle the head of your toothbrush against the brackets so that you can effectively clean around them.
Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth and the backs of your teeth as well. You may notice that the bristles of your toothbrush fray faster than usual, and your toothbrush should be replaced accordingly, even if this means replacing it before the recommended three months.
Flossing with braces is essential not only for removing plaque, bacteria, and food particles but also for removing this debris from under your wires and around your brackets. It can be difficult to get the floss underneath the wire so that a floss threader can be exceptionally helpful. Floss between each tooth, under the wires and around the brackets. Do not forget to floss behind your back teeth.
Protecting Your Braces
Taking steps to protect your braces is essential for ensuring that they provide you with the most effective results. Avoid eating hard, crunchy, chewy, and sticky foods. These types of foods, including whole apples, caramels, chewing gum, crusty bread, and more, can cause your brackets to become dislodged or your wires to bend or break.
If you are involved in sports, a mouth guard is a must, even without braces. A boil & bite mouth guard is a great option while you are in orthodontic treatment. Once you get your braces off, we can make a customized mouth guard.
Dealing With Braces Related Emergencies
While taking care of your braces can help to keep them safe, sometimes urgent needs occur. A bracket can come loose or a wire may pop out or become long as your teeth align in between adjustment visits. If this happens, contact the office and the team will instruct you on what to do. A broken bracket may be scheduled in for repair if your next adjustment is still a few weeks away. A long wire can be easily cut at home with a pair of clean nail clippers, or our team members will be happy to help you in our office. We will always schedule an appointment for repair visits, so please be sure to call. We cannot manage walk in appointments.
With proper care, your braces will effectively realign your teeth, helping to improve both your oral health and the appearance of your smile.
For more information about caring for your braces, call Dr. Tim Dumore & Team today.