Caring for Your Teeth When You Have Braces

When it’s time to invest in braces for you or your child, you need to take every precaution to ensure the investment pays off.

One of the best ways you can do that is to learn to take proper care of your teeth while you’re wearing your braces. If you fail to practice good oral hygiene, you may not only hurt your teeth, but you may also cause damage to your braces.

In this blog, Howard Spector, DDS, of Millennium Park Orthodontics in Chicago gives a few tips on how to care for your teeth when you have braces.

Choose the right toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash

The goal of brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash is to eliminate the buildup of bacteria in your mouth. If you let bacteria build up, this can lead to the development of cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. 

Choose a toothpaste that has fluoride, which can help strengthen your teeth. Use waxed floss, because unwaxed floss may get caught in your braces. And choose a mouthwash free of bright green or red dyes, which could discolor the metal of your braces or the removable elastics.

Brush properly

When you brush, brush gently. Don’t use your toothbrush like you’re scrubbing your teeth, but rather, like you're wiping them. Angle your toothbrush along your gums to remove any food that’s lodged there, and then use the same angled motion to brush food away from the tops and bottoms of the brackets.

At the very least, you should brush twice a day. And, when possible, brush every time after you eat something.

Avoid foods that can damage your braces

Chewing hard or sticky foods is one of the top ways people break their braces. Once a wire is broken or a bracket is knocked loose, the braces won’t function correctly, and you’ll need to come to the office to fix the problem. This, in turn, could cause your treatment to take longer.

To protect both your teeth and your braces, stay away from hard foods, such as nuts, popcorn with hard kernels, and hard, chewy bagels. You should also avoid sticky foods, such as caramels, chewy candy bars, and peanut butter.

Use an oral irrigator

One handy tool that can help you remove plaque and food particles from your mouth is an oral irrigator. This system consists of a wand that is connected to a small water tank. You move the wand around in your mouth, and it sprays water to dislodge food particles from your gums, teeth, and braces. You should use the irrigator once or twice a day to supplement — not replace — your brushing and flossing.

If you follow these directions, you’ll have the best chance of keeping your teeth healthy and your braces in good shape. To learn more about taking care of your braces, or to see what your options are for straightening your teeth, book an appointment over the phone with Millennium Park Orthodontics today.

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