Braces require a little extra care when it comes to staying on top of your oral health. The brackets and wires make it harder for your toothbrush and floss to do their jobs. With a few adjustments to your daily routine, you can keep your gums and teeth healthy throughout the treatment process.
Tampa orthodontist, Dr. Gutierrez, offers these quick and easy tips to maintaining excellent oral health:
- Use the right toothbrush. A soft-bristled toothbrush or one designed for braces is a good idea. Pick up several so you have one with you on the go, at school, or at work. Also, replace your toothbrushes when needed.
- Brush correctly. Be gentle and kind to your gums. Begin by swishing with water to remove obvious food particles. Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle up, and brush gently along the gum line. Continue for three minutes.
- Pack an extra toothbrush and floss to use after lunch and an afternoon snack. Brushing after every meal is the goal. It doesn’t take long, and will make a huge difference for your oral health. Can’t brush? Even swishing with water after drinking a sugary beverage such as soda is better than nothing. Give one to your mom to put in her purse for you.
- Factor in more time to floss, which is critical in maintaining healthy gums and teeth. Food particles do get trapped in the brackets and under wires—putting you at risk for plaque buildup and developing decay and cavities.
- Use floss threaders to help thread the floss under and around wires. Ask your orthodontist for extras or pick them up at the local convenience store. Flossing and brushing correctly is your best defense against gum disease and recession that can lead to painful sensitivities. They work wonders!
- Limit the amount of sweets and starchy foods. Too much sugar will cause your body to produce acid that eats away your tooth enamel, making it susceptible to decay. Sugar found in soft drinks is a hidden problem—too much sugar can cause white marks on your teeth caused by bacteria. After drinking a soda, for instance, brush your teeth or swish with water.
- Avoid crunchy, chewy, and hard foods that are hard to remove and tend to cause damage to your braces and arch wires. Never chew on ice or hard foods. Don’t shy away from apples and carrots though–they are a wonderful healthy choice.
- Attack and kill the bacteria in your mouth with a daily mouth rinse. You’ll enjoy fresher breath too!
- Keep up with your treatment appointments with both your orthodontist and routine dental care visits.
Not sure what are the best products are to use? Or where to find them? Ask your orthodontist. Tampa-based Dr. Gutierrez is happy to answer all of your questions about maintaining oral health.