Mar 20, 2014 - 10:03 AM EST | Posted under: Dental Tips, General
Braces for kids and adults are orthodontic devices designed to align the teeth and correct speech impediments due to poorly aligned teeth. Although braces often seem like a hassle and require great care, they are well worth the sacrifice. To maximize the outcomes of braces, proper care and routine visits to the orthodontist are essential. Proper brushing and flossing techniques with braces will ensure that wearers do not experience any discoloring, cavities, or inflamed gum tissue. Use this guide to learn techniques for caring for the teeth when wearing braces.
Get a professional cleaning. Professional cleanings are essential to basic dental care, but may be required more frequently with braces. Talk to your orthodontist about the frequency of cleanings and when it is best to seek professional cleanings. Many experts recommend cleanings after each tightening. You will also need to alert your family dentist that you have braces, as special tools may be necessary to ensure proper cleaning.
Brush after every meal. This is a must for those with braces. With braces, food, bacteria, and debris can easily become trapped and cause unsightly damage if not removed. The longer bacteria sits on your teeth, the more time it has to form acids that can erode the enamel and inflame the gums.
Follow these brushing-with-braces tips to ensure that your teeth stay clean and healthy:
- Rinse your mouth with warm water before brushing to reduce the spread of acid that can erode the tooth enamel. Swish several times and spit to neutralize acid and free debris.
- Rinse your toothbrush with hot water before brushing. Toothbrushes can harbor bacteria, but rinsing before use can sweep away harmful surface germs. You may want to run clean fingers over the bristles a few times as you rinse your toothbrush to further rid the bristles of any trapped debris. Rinse your toothbrush again with hot water following use. Replace your toothbrush every three months or as it becomes worn, whichever comes first.
- Apply toothpaste to your toothbrush and begin brushing. Dedicate at least two minutes to your brushing routine, dividing your mouth into quadrants and focusing thoroughly on each section. You may find it necessary to spit as you free debris while brushing.
- A special proxy toothbrush may be necessary to work between brackets and wires. These toothbrushes look like miniature Christmas trees and can reach between each bracket as well as between the wire and your teeth to dislodge debris and scrub off bacteria. Once a day use, at minimum, is recommended. Replace often to reduce exposure to germs and bacteria.
- Brush your tongue as well as your teeth. Cleaning the tongue not only helps keep your breath fresh, but also reduces bacteria that lead to gingivitis.
When it comes to braces, you have to change your eating habits along with your oral hygiene habits. Add this checklist to your daily routine:
- Gargle with salt water morning and evening. Gargling with salt water can free debris, reduce gingivitis, and neutralize acids.
- Reduce or avoid sugar consumption. Sugary foods are known to do lots of terrible things to your health, and the same is true of your teeth. Sugar joins with the bacteria in the mouth to form acids that erode the teeth, so avoid it if possible.
- Eat fruit and vegetables. Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables can ward off oral diseases and contribute to your overall health.
Braces costs time and money, but with proper care and routine visits to your orthodontist, the end result will be worth every moment of your time and every penny spent. You are in control of the outcome—diligence to your dental care is essential for the best results.