If you or a loved one is wearing braces right now, you are not alone. Orthodontry is a multi-million dollar business with an estimated four million Americans being treated for tooth crowding and/or jaw misalignment at any one time. It’s estimated that eight out of 10 those Americans are teens.
While braces help so many people overcome serious tooth and jaw problems the brackets and wires used in the process can trap food and plaque. This can result in endless opportunities for cavities if special attention is not paid to daily oral care.
Caring for your teeth
As your dentist and orthodontist probably have already advised you, it’s essential you take special care of your teeth while wearing braces.
- Brushing – If possible, it’s best to brush after every meal when wearing braces. To reach the entire surface of your teeth when you brush, angle the brush under your braces and move the toothbrush up and down.
- Flossing – The brackets and wires can make it nearly impossible to floss with regular, stringy floss. Use a floss threader or special orthodontic floss with hard ends at least once per day to remove food and plaque between teeth.
- Proxy brush – This tool, which resembles a pipe cleaner or mini pine tree, can be used to clean those hard to reach areas between your brackets.
- Fluoride rinse – Complete the process with a good fluoride rinse to keep your enamel strong.
Once you have completed the daily cleaning process, take a look in the mirror to ensure you didn’t miss any debris. Some dentists and orthodontists will make additional recommendations, such as the use of a Waterpik prior to brushing to help loosen debris.
Caring for your mouth
There are additional ways to care for your teeth while wearing braces and it includes limiting some types of food. This is vital to keeping your mouth healthy, especially while the brackets and wires make cleaning the teeth so much more challenging.
Items to avoid
- Sweet, sugary, starchy food – the sugar content and starch can easily stick to teeth and in between braces and cause tooth decay as well as gum disease. Try to avoid sugary drinks as well.
- Sticky and chewy foods – in addition to the obvious sugar issue, foods such as caramel, gum, dried fruits and taffy can stick to braces and may be a challenge to remove.
- Hard foods – biting anything hard, such as ice, candies, nuts and popcorn kernels can break wires and brackets.
Be sure to stick to as many healthy foods as possible while wearing braces. Hard fruits and vegetables, such as apples and carrots, can still be eaten if you cut them up and chew using your back teeth. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day to help cleanse away acids that form on and around your teeth. Be sure to visit the dentist twice a year for a thorough cleaning and check up.
Taking special care of your teeth during the orthodontic years will pay off the day your braces come off and reveal a beautiful, cavity-free smile.
Please contact Cambridge Family Dentistry for a free consultation if you have any questions or concerns about taking special care of your teeth while wearing braces.
Please contact us by calling:
(316) 687-2110 or toll-free (877) 687-2110.
We look forward to meeting you.
The Cambridge Family Dentistry clinic is located at 2020 N. Webb Road in Wichita, Kansas