Great oral hygiene is important when you have braces and other orthodontic appliances. When you have braces, food can get trapped under the wires and between the teeth and the brackets. This can result in prolonged time that food sits on the teeth and can cause tooth decay, cavities, and other damage. Here are a few of Dr. Doug Barden's tips to keep your teeth healthy while wearing braces:
1. Brush, Floss, and Rinse
Careful brushing is essential with braces. We recommend that you use an electronic toothbrush with a specific orthodontic head (ask us at your next appointment!) or else use a soft toothbrush. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. Always use a fluoride-based toothpaste. We also recommend that you rinse with a fluoride mouth rinse to help clean around the brackets and wires.
Be sure to floss every day! Special flossers can be useful for getting around wires and brackets. If you are having trouble flossing, check out this helpful video on flossing with braces. It might take some time, but flossing is important to remove food that gets stuck in between teeth and under wires.
2. Visit your dentist for a cleaning
Even though you are seeing Dr. Barden regularly for orthodontic appointments, it is still necessary to see your dentist and dental hygienist for a checkup and cleaning every 6 months, or as directed.
3. Eat Braces (and Teeth) Friendly Food
Be careful to minimize or avoid foods that are high in sugar and acid. Sugary foods can cause plaque and be difficult to remove from your teeth. Be sure to avoid sticky foods (caramel, gum, taffy etc) as they can get stuck in your braces and are challenging to clean from your teeth. Foods and beverages that are high in acid (coffee and sodas) can cause damage to tooth enamel. Check out this list of foods to avoid while in braces.
Dr. Barden recommends that you pick healthy foods that are soft and low in sugar and acid. Foods that are hard (nuts, ice and even healthy foods such as raw applies and carrots) can bend wires and damage brackets. Try to focus on foods such as bananas, grapes, milk, water, chicken, and pasta. Cook hard vegetables and fruits until they are soft. Try sugar free apple sauce or a baked apple instead of a crispy, raw apple. Here are some other recommended braces friendly snacks or check out our blog for some healthy, tasty, braces friendly recipes.
Be sure to ask Dr. Barden and his team if you have any questions on how to keep your teeth clean and healthy. It might take more work when you have braces, but careful brushing and flossing will promote a beautiful, healthy smile.