Keep Your Braces in Top Condition with These Maintenance and Hygiene Tips
It sounds cliché to say, but a set of braces is only as good as the wearer’s maintenance and hygiene practices. That means that if you want braces to do what they’re supposed to—straighten and align your teeth—you have to take care of them. For a lot of new wearers, adjusting to the rigor of braces maintenance and hygiene can come as a shock. But the reality is, the process is a lot less intimidating and demanding than people think. Here are a few must-dos when it comes to braces maintenance and hygiene.
Avoid foods that can damage your braces
Before you throw that caramel candy in your mouth, just know you’re putting the integrity of your braces at risk. Foods that are sticky or hard can break wires or loosen brackets. These foods are also prone to getting stuck under the braces, making them difficult to remove. The harder food is to remove, the longer it sticks around, which increases your chances of developing a cavity. If you are planning to eat hard foods like apples or carrots, cut them into small, bite-sized pieces first.
Practice regular brushing and cleaning
While you might already be accustomed to brushing your teeth often, the addition of braces takes the importance of cleanliness to an entirely new level. As mentioned, food can get stuck in every nook and cranny of your braces, leading to white spots and tooth decay. It’s a good idea to brush at least three times a day, especially after every meal. Flossing and finishing with an antiseptic mouthwash are also important parts of the equation.
Use the right equipment
The standard toothbrush most people use is too big and bulky for braces wearers. While a standard toothbrush is OK to get the broader areas of your teeth, you should also incorporate an interdental brush into your routine. These brushes are much smaller and effective at cleaning between teeth and around wires and brackets. When you think you’re done, flash those pearly whites in the mirror and look closely to confirm you don’t see any visible food remnants. Lastly, you’ll want to be gentle to avoid breaking a bracket or wire—and since you’re brushing your teeth at least three times a day, you should plan to replace toothbrushes frequently since the bristles are likely to wear down.
Don’t skip your orthodontist (or dentist) appointment
Even the most diligent and meticulous braces wearer is bound to have a wire pop loose sometimes. Preventive care through routine check-ups with the orthodontist is the best way to ensure that your braces remain in good structural shape and are not likely to malfunction in the future. And speaking of can’t-miss appointments, you’ll want to make sure you’re regularly seeing your dentist as well. A visit every six months and a deep cleaning can give you the peace of mind that your mouth is free of food remnants and gum disease.
The tips listed here are a good start to proper braces maintenance and hygiene, but they’re just a start. Dr. Angeloni would be happy to talk with you about keeping your braces (and your teeth) in the best possible condition. Have questions? Make an appointment with Dr. Angeloni today!