So, you’re finally getting ready to get braces for a straighter, more even smile. With your goal within your reach, you want to understand how to care for your teeth during braces treatment for a healthy smile both before and after. After all, straight but unhealthy teeth are of no use to anyone, right? In this blog, we’re here to support you throughout your orthodontic journey, offering valuable insights and practical tips to make your treatment more comfortable and help you maintain excellent oral hygiene during your braces journey.
Oral Hygiene Challenges During Braces Treatment
Braces are made of wires and brackets affixed to your teeth using dental adhesive. Once bonded, they remain in place for the duration of the treatment, exerting gentle pressure to guide your teeth into their correct positions. Braces help correct dental issues such as crooked teeth, overcrowding, gaps, and bite irregularities.
Braces require periodic adjustments as your teeth align and shift position. Since the braces are permanently bonded to your teeth, only your dentist can make these changes during the follow-up visits. This presents some challenges for your oral care routine.
Some of them include:
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums, leading to tooth decay and gum disease if not removed regularly. Brackets, wires, and other components of braces create additional surfaces where plaque can accumulate. Removal of plaque from around the brackets and wires becomes even more important to maintain oral health during treatment.
Accumulation of Food Particles
Braces can trap food particles, particularly in hard-to-reach areas around brackets and wires. These particles can remain lodged in your braces, providing a breeding ground for bacteria and contributing to bad breath and oral health issues. Proper cleaning techniques and tools are necessary to dislodge and remove these food particles.
The wires from the braces can irritate the gums, leading to redness, swelling, and discomfort. Inflamed gums are more susceptible to gum disease, and maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to prevent further complications.
Talk to your dentist about teeth and gum care during braces treatment. They can help guide you by providing personalised recommendations on the specific tools and products, instructing you on the correct use to promote oral hygiene and minimise discomfort.
At Superior Smiles, we offer both ceramic and metal braces. Ceramic braces have clear brackets, making them less noticeable than traditional metal. We also offer a range of clear aligners for patients looking for more discreet options. A comprehensive consultation to evaluate your teeth and bite alignment allows us to provide tailored treatment plans that align with your dental and lifestyle needs. We take the time to listen to and understand your concerns, providing a transparent picture and highlighting benefits and potential areas of concern to ensure successful treatment outcomes.
Tips to take care of your teeth during the Braces Treatment
Here are some tips to help take care of your teeth during braces treatment:
Maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine
Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush in small, circular motions to effectively clean around the brackets and wires, paying extra attention to the gumline. Talk to your dentist to learn more about electric toothbrushes as they make cleaning around brackets and wires easier.
At our Fremantle Clinic, we offer Airflow Therapy for superior hygiene and cleaning. Unlike traditional dental cleaning, Airflow can clean around braces and dental restorations, removing plaque, stains, discolouration and deep periodontal pockets for a whole mouth clean.
Use interdental brushes or dental floss
Interdental brushes and dental floss can help you clean between the brackets, wires, and teeth, removing food particles or debris missed by the toothbrush. Interdental brushes are small, cone-shaped brushes that clean between the teeth and brackets. Whereas, floss threaders are thin, flexible tools consisting of a small plastic or nylon loop that can easily be inserted under the archwire of the braces.
Antimicrobial mouthwash can help
Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash to help kill bacteria and reduce the risk of gum inflammation and infection. Consult your dentist for recommendations on suitable mouthwash options.
Be careful about what you eat
Avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods that can damage your braces or get stuck easily. Opt for softer alternatives and cut food into smaller, more manageable pieces to reduce the risk of damage or food particles getting trapped.
Don’t miss regular dental checkups
Regular dental checkups allow your dentist to monitor your oral health, both during orthodontic treatment and routinely. They can detect potential or developing oral problems early, preventing them from progressing with timely treatment. Routine dental checkups also include dental cleanings to remove plaque or tartar buildup, minimising the risk of tooth decay or any other emerging problem like an impacted wisdom tooth.
Use orthodontic wax for discomfort
If your braces cause irritation or discomfort, apply orthodontic wax to the brackets or wires rubbing against your mouth. Mould the wax around the problem area to create a smooth surface and prevent further irritation. Contact your dentist if you experience persistent discomfort or have any concerns.
Stay hydrated and avoid sugary drinks
Drinking plenty of water helps rinse away food particles and reduces the risk of tooth decay. Limit sugary and acidic beverages such as soda, sports drinks, and fruit juices as they can contribute to plaque formation and enamel erosion. If you consume these beverages, use a straw positioned behind your braces to reduce contact with your teeth.
Wear a mouthguard during physical activities
If you participate in sports or activities, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and braces from injury or trauma. At Superior Smiles, we offer custom-made mouthguards to cushion your teeth and soft mouth tissues from impact during sports. Our mouthguards are made from durable, high-quality materials, and are tailored to your mouth size and shape for a snug fit and improved comfort.
- Rinse your mouth with water after consuming sugary or acidic foods and beverages or keep toothpaste and brush on hand to minimise the impact on your teeth and braces.
- Try to stay away from foods like gum, caramel, popcorn, hard candies, and ice, as they can damage your braces.
- Some braces-friendly food options include soft fruits, cooked vegetables, yoghurt, cheese, mashed potatoes, pasta, and lean meats.
- If you have a broken wire, use orthodontic wax to cover the pointed end, and contact your dentist immediately to have it fixed. Waiting for your next appointment can affect the progress of your treatment.
- Never try to fix damaged wires, brackets, or bands yourself.
Ready to Begin Your Smile Journey?
There’s nothing more uplifting than a smile brimming with joy and vitality. And we’re here to keep your smile looking healthy and beautiful with quality dental care for optimal oral health and hygiene. Whether you’re looking for straighter teeth and cosmetic enhancements or general and preventative treatments to protect your teeth and gums, our Fremantle Dentists can help.
Book a consultation today.