Good Oral Hygiene and Braces
Wearing braces is a rite of passage for many teens. It signals the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This can be an exciting time because it means the promise of straight teeth and a healthy looking smile. But having braces can also create some concerns. Food and plaque can get lodged in and behind braces, which can cause decay and stains on your tooth enamel. Food can also co-mingle with the bacteria in your mouth and the metal in the braces, causing small, bleached-looking light spots on your teeth. Following these important guidelines will ensure that you’re treat those pearly whites just right.
Brushing with braces isn’t much different than brushing without them. After every meal, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush around all the parts of your teeth – front, sides, back, and chewing surfaces, along with your tongue. Be gentle but thorough when you brush and inspect your brackets after you rinse. You’ve done a good job if you can see the edges of your brackets.
Flossing is critical when wearing braces because it helps loosen food particles between teeth , which can otherwise harden into tartar if not removed. It can be challenging to brush with braces, but there are many flossing options to make it a little easier. You can use a floss threader or over-the-counter orthodontic floss clean between your braces and under the wires.
Avoid Certain Foods
The likelihood of developing tooth decay and gum disease increases when you eat sweets, drink soda or consume other sugary and starchy foods. Caramel, taffy and chewing gum should also be avoided because it can stick to your braces and be difficult to remove. Hard foods like candies, nuts and popcorn are also off-limits, as they can break wires and loosen brackets.
Get Regular Checkups and Cleanings
You should visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and a checkup. Your dentist will thoroughly clean in and around your braces, identify areas that may need greater attention, and make sure your teeth are healthy.
Want to learn more about maintaining good oral health with braces? Contact the Montefiore Department of Dentistry.
For more information about any of the services we offer, please contact Drs. Kraut, Rogoff, Newsome and Kakanantadilok. Our office is located in the Bronx and can be reached at 888-700-6623. We look forward to meeting you!