Now that you have your braces in place, it is just as important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen throughout the length of your treatment as it was before. Braces, wires, bands and retainers can all trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque. Careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal and snack, is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease. Click on the buttons below to learn more about how to continue a proper oral hygiene routine while in braces.
- Start with the outside of the teeth, with the brush at a straight angle. Use circular, vibrating motions.
- Clean the area between the gums and braces by angling the brush down (up for the lower jaw). Keep moving in a small circular motion.
- Clean the rest of the outside of the teeth by angling the brush up (down for the lower jaw).
- Carefully brush the chewing surface of both the upper and lower jaw.
- Finish by brushing the inside of the teeth.
- Floss at least once a day. The floss needs to be pulled under the archwire. A floss threader facilitates this. Start by pulling floss through the threader.
- Push the end of the floss threader under the archwire and pull the floss through.
- Pull the floss up between the teeth and gently move it up and down the side of both teeth. Remember to move it up all the way under the gums.
- Pull the floss out and use a different section of it for the next tooth.
When you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth carefully with water or an antiseptic dental rinse. An antiseptic dental rinse can help minor gum inflammations and irritations from orthodontic appliances. Also used to cleanse canker sores, minor wounds and other mouth and gum irritations, this mouth rinse removes debris, enabling natural healing to occur.
An interdental toothbrush (proxabrush) is another aid you might find useful in keeping your teeth, braces and gums clean and healthy. It can be used to clean under orthodontic wires and around braces. Use this device slowly and carefully, so you do not damage your braces.
During the retention phase, it is important to brush your retainer every time you brush your teeth as they can accumulate food particles and plaque. Once a day, you should soak your appliance in a glass of room-temperature tap water with a denture-cleaning tablet, such as Polident or Efferdent. This will help prevent plaque build-up and oral infections and will keep your appliance tasting better. Do not use hot water as it can distort the appliance.
Foods to Avoid
Your teeth may be a little sore for the first week in braces, so we recommend sticking to a soft food diet until the discomfort subsides. While in braces, you can still eat just about anything although there are a few exceptions.
You should avoid hard foods, such as ice and pizza crust, as well as sticky foods, including licorice and caramels. These foods can damage wires and brackets. It is also important to minimize foods high in sugar content, like ice cream and cookies, and reduce sugary drinks to once a day.