3 Tips on Proper Oral Hygiene for Braces Wearers
When you get metal braces, it’s essential to keep your braces, gums, and teeth clean and healthy. With wires and metal covering the surfaces of your teeth for an extended period of time, tooth surfaces become harder to reach, making your mouth more susceptible to additional plaque buildup and unhealthy bacteria. Here are some important tips to follow to ensure proper oral hygiene when you’re wearing braces.
1. Use the right cleaning tools.
Start out with the basics: You’ll need to brush more often, replace your toothbrush more frequently, and do a thorough cleaning several times a day to maintain good oral hygiene. Note: Be sure you’re always gently cleaning your teeth, gums, and braces to avoid damaging gum tissues or metal — so always use a fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft brushes (or an electric toothbrush). Here are some other essential cleaning tools for keeping your braces and teeth clean:
- Fluoride rinses: Be sure to ask what your dental team recommends.
- Inter-dental brushes: These are small, tapered brushes with a vertical handle to access the tiny spots between wires and brackets.
- Floss-threader: These are flexible, needle-shaped loops used to guide the dental floss in between bracketed teeth.
2. Improve your diet.
While wearing braces, it’s best to cut out sticky, super-crunchy, or hard foods, as well as foods and drinks high in acid (for example: salsa, soft drinks, tomatoes, and pineapples). In addition, here are some great foods to add to your diet:
- Low-acid foods: Popular choices are bananas, cucumbers, mangoes, and carrots.
- Raisins: They contain plenty of phytochemicals that keep bacteria from building up.
- Cranberries: Rich in polyphenols, cranberries are great for strengthening your teeth.
- Leafy greens: They’re rich in calcium and folic acid, which also contribute to teeth strength and dental health.
- Milk: Milk actually cuts down the amount of acid in your mouth after eating something sweet.
- Black tea: Rinsing your mouth with black tea ten times a day for one minute can actually reduce the amount of plaque buildup according to a study from the University of Illinois.
3. Keep up with your orthodontic and dental appointments.
Your dental team will check for plaque, gum inflammation, and other conditions that impact your oral health. Depending upon your situation, your team may recommend more professional cleanings while you wear your braces, and your general dentist and orthodontist will keep each other informed of any changes in your dental health. Plus, you’ll reduce the likelihood of having to deal with excessive plaque or discolored teeth after your braces have been removed — as well as a mouthful of cavities!
At Big Bend Orthodontics, we have an elite staff of professionals ready to provide you with the highest quality of orthodontic solutions available. If you have any questions about braces, proper oral hygiene, or anything else, please contact us.