Braces are an effective orthodontic treatment for correcting bite issues, maintaining oral health, and straightening teeth. However, wearing braces requires extra attention to oral hygiene to avoid dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. This article provides easy-to-follow tips to help keep your oral health maintained while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Keep on reading to learn how to care for your teeth while wearing braces!
Types of Braces
Having braces can be like a marathon. You need to keep up with them, making sure your teeth and gums are healthy throughout the process. There are many types of braces that differ in how you care for them, so it’s important to know what type you have before getting started on your journey toward better oral health.
Metal braces is generally the most common type of braces. It’s usually what you think of when you hear the word “braces”. They are made of high-grade stainless steel brackets and wires. The brackets are glued to the front surface of each tooth, and the wires are then attached to the brackets using small rubber bands. Metal braces are highly effective at correcting all types of orthodontic issues and are usually the most affordable option.
However, they are the most visible type of braces and may require more frequent adjustments.
Ceramic braces are somehow similar to metal braces, but its brackets are made of clear or tooth-colored materials, making them less noticeable. Ceramic braces are a popular choice among adults who are concerned about the appearance of metal braces. They work in the same way as metal braces and are highly effective at correcting orthodontic issues. However, they may be more expensive and may require more maintenance than metal braces.
Lingual braces function similarly to metal braces, but their brackets and wires are fixed to the back surface of the teeth, making them entirely invisible from the front. They are a great option for individuals who want to align their teeth discreetly. However, cleaning and adjusting lingual braces can be more challenging than other types of braces, and they may require more time to become accustomed to.
Self-ligating braces involve using a special type of bracket that has a built-in mechanism to hold the wire in place. This eliminates the need for elastic or metal ties, which can cause discomfort and require frequent adjustments. Self-ligating braces can be made of metal or ceramic and are highly effective at correcting orthodontic issues. They may be more expensive than traditional braces but can reduce treatment time and require fewer appointments.
Clear aligners, like Invisalign, consist of a series of transparent, removable trays that gently move teeth into the correct alignment. These aligners are nearly invisible and can be taken out for eating, brushing, and flossing. They are highly preferred by adults who desire to straighten their teeth discreetly. But, clear aligners may be pricier than traditional braces and may not be appropriate for all orthodontic conditions.
Damon braces are similar to self-ligating braces, but they use a sliding mechanism instead of elastic or metal ties. This reduces friction and pressure on the teeth, resulting in less discomfort and faster treatment times. Damon braces are available in metal or clear materials and are highly effective at correcting orthodontic issues. They may be more expensive than traditional braces and require fewer adjustments.
Oral Hygiene Routine for Maintaining Oral Health
Having braces can be a challenge when it comes to oral hygiene. It’s important for the health of your teeth and gums that you maintain an effective oral hygiene routine while wearing them. Here are some helpful tips:
- Daily Brushing – You should brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste using a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day. Pay extra attention to areas surrounding your brackets and wires, where food particles tend to gather.
- Flossing Routine – Regular flossing is crucial for maintaining optimal oral hygiene, as it aids in eliminating plaque from between teeth and beneath the gum line. This becomes even more crucial once you have braces because they create extra spaces between teeth, which require flossing each day or night (whichever works best for your schedule).
- Avoid Sugary Foods – Try to limit sugary snacks and drinks as much as possible in order to help keep your mouth free of cavities and other problems associated with sugar consumption. Also, remember to rinse after eating anything sweet!
- Regular Check-Ups – It’s essential to continue scheduling routine dental checkups every six months while receiving orthodontic treatment to allow your dentist to monitor any potential problems that may arise from wearing braces.
By following these steps above, you’ll be well on your way to achieving optimal oral health while wearing braces! Remember, it’s all about consistency—the more consistent you stay with proper brushing, flossing, and dental visits, the better off you will be!
Cleaning Tools and Techniques
As stated previously, proper care and maintenance of teeth while wearing braces are essential to avoiding issues in the months ahead. It’s important to know which tools are available for cleaning around brackets, wires, and other orthodontic appliances. Here are some effective oral hygiene techniques that can be used when wearing braces.
|Interdental Brushes||Brush at least twice daily using an interdental brush that fits easily between teeth and around brackets|
|Floss Threaders||Use a floss threader after brushing every night to clean below the wire|
|Braces Cleaning Kits||Purchase a customized kit from your dentist or orthodontist that includes special brushes specifically designed for braces|
|Fluoride Rinse||Make sure to rinse with fluoride mouthwash once a day following brushing and flossing|
Using these tools as part of your daily routine will help you maintain good oral health while wearing braces. Interdental brushes are great for getting into those hard-to-reach spaces around brackets and wires; they should be used both morning and night by pressing gently against each tooth surface.
If needed, purchase a specially designed cleaning kit made specifically for braces—these typically include small brushes along with floss threaders which make it easier to get under the archwire and between each tooth. You should also consider investing in a quality water flosser device; this tool is especially helpful because it targets areas where regular string floss may not reach effectively.
Don’t forget about fluoride rinses. These rinses help protect enamel surfaces from wear due to acidic foods and beverages consumed throughout the day; just remember to wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything afterward so the fluoride has time to absorb into teeth.
Foods to Avoid for Healthy Teeth
Maintaining a healthy diet is important for overall health, but it is also important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. To maintain healthy teeth, it is advisable to limit or avoid certain foods and beverages that can heighten the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues, including:
Sugary drinks, including soda, sports drinks, and fruit juices, can cause tooth decay and erosion. Drinks high in acid and sugar can cause tooth enamel erosion and lead to cavities. To mitigate this, it is best to either limit or avoid such drinks and choose water or unsweetened beverages instead.
Candy and Sweets
Sweets and candies contain high amounts of sugar and tend to cling to teeth, impeding the saliva from washing away the sugar and acid. This can potentially heighten the risk of cavities and tooth decay. It’s best to limit or avoid candy and sweets and opt for healthier snacks such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Tooth decay risk can also be increased by starchy foods like pasta, bread, and crackers. These foods can stick to the teeth and break down into sugars, which can feed bacteria and lead to cavities. It’s best to limit or avoid starchy foods and opt for whole grains and fiber-rich foods instead.
Consuming acidic foods like citrus fruits, vinegar, and tomatoes can lead to tooth sensitivity and cavities by eroding tooth enamel. To prevent experiencing this, it is best to either limit or avoid such foods and rinse your mouth with water after consumption.
Consuming alcohol can lead to dehydration and dry mouth, which can heighten the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. That’s why it is recommended to either limit or avoid alcohol consumption and choose water or unsweetened beverages instead to promote better oral health.
Sticky foods, such as dried fruits and gummy candies, can stick to the teeth and increase the risk of tooth decay. It’s best to limit or avoid sticky foods and opt for fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
In addition to avoiding these foods, it’s important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet than includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. It’s also important to brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
It’s important for those wearing braces to keep up with regular checkups. These visits provide an opportunity for your orthodontist to make any necessary adjustments and ensure that the brackets are positioned correctly. Additionally, it allows them to monitor changes in your oral health during your treatment plan.
Here are a few tips to help you stay on track:
- Schedule follow-up appointments with your orthodontist at least every six weeks
- Ask about what type of dental care is best while undergoing orthodontic treatment
- Remain vigilant when it comes to proper oral hygiene by brushing twice daily and flossing regularly
- Don’t forget to wear any additional appliances prescribed by your orthodontist
To successfully maintain oral health throughout the course of treatment, it’s crucial that individuals adhere to their recommended schedule of orthodontist visits and practice good dental hygiene habits. Doing so can greatly reduce the risks associated with braces and promote positive results from both a functional and aesthetic perspective.
It’s important to take good care of your teeth while wearing braces. Like a puzzle, the pieces must fit together for a successful outcome. Regular visits to your orthodontist and daily oral hygiene practices will help ensure that you achieve the best results from your treatment.
Braces are an investment in your future dental health. Taking proper precautions during this period can save time, money, and discomfort down the road. Contact us now to book your appointment!