There is no doubt about it – it is harder to keep your teeth clean if you wear braces. It’s unfortunate (and ironic) when brace wearers develop tooth decay and weaken their teeth while they’re actually trying to improve their smile with braces. The team at Blaisdell Family Dentistry wants to discuss how to keep your mouth healthy while you’re wearing braces.
The brackets and wires on traditional metal braces create hard to reach places where harmful bacteria can thrive. If brace wearers don’t pay continual and careful attention to oral hygiene, their teeth can be permanently damaged. The cycle of decay goes like this:
- Food particles are trapped in the tiny spaces in and around the wires.
- The bacteria in the food particles multiply.
- The bacteria creates plaque.
- The plaque erodes the enamel.
- Cavities form.
Teeth are not the only thing at risk here, orthodontic patients can also develop gum disease (gingivitis) which can progress quickly into periodontitis and eventual bone recession and tooth loss.
Bottom line: orthodontic patients need to be vigilant about a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.
Most brace wearers know that they should avoid sticky, sugary foods that stick to their braces, but some don’t realize that any carbohydrate-based food turns into sugar. Thus, a cracker can be just as bad for your teeth as a piece of candy if the particles are not removed.
Here are the steps to effective brushing while wearing braces:
1. Remove any rubber bands you might have before brushing.
2. Using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Gently brush along the gum line where the gums and teeth meet, using a small circular motion on each tooth.
3. Spend about 10 seconds on each tooth before moving onto the next tooth, brushing in a set pattern so that you don’t miss any teeth.
4. Gently brush the braces. Press your toothbrush firmly enough so that the bristles spread into the gaps between the wire and the tooth. Brush in and around all of the brackets and wires. Make sure you brush under the wires.
5. Brush both the inside and the outside surfaces of your teeth using a gentle circular motion on each tooth.
6. For the chewing surfaces, use a firm back and forth motion.
7. Spit out excess paste, then check your teeth and braces in the mirror to check that they are clean and shiny.
8. Replace your rubber bands (if you’re in that phase of treatment.).
9. After brushing, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash for 1 minute to help prevent cavities and white spots.
Blaisdell family Dentistry wants to make sure our orthodontic patients get regular checkups and cleanings from us while they are wearing braces. We offer general and family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and root canals and endodontics. Call us today for an appointment!
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