If you have braces or are getting them soon, it is vital that you know the ins and outs of taking care of your teeth while you have braces. Braces have brackets and wires that create little nooks and crannies where food particles can hide and plaque can form. So, while undergoing orthodontic treatment, proper oral care is more critical than ever. Here is some guidance for how to care for your teeth when you have braces.
Most dentists, orthodontists, and dental experts recommend brushing your teeth after every meal when you have brace, including snacks. You will want to use a soft toothbrush, preferably an electric one. You don’t want to use medium or firm bristles because they can damage the brackets and wires. You also don’t need to use much force when using a soft-bristled electric toothbrush. Let the toothbrush do the work for you.
Flossing your teeth is particularly difficult when you have braces, but you shouldn’t ignore it. If food particles get trapped between your teeth or in between the wires and brackets, you may face a longer period of orthodontic treatment to rectify any problems that occur, in addition to decay from plaque buildup. Use threaded floss or a floss threader and insert the firm end between your teeth where normal floss would not be able to reach. Gently scrape back and forth and up and down. Again, don’t use too much force, or you can damage your braces. Interdental brushes (also called proxabrushes or Christmas tree brushes) also can help remove food particles between teeth, above and below wires, and between teeth and wires.
To make sure your teeth, gums, and braces stay clean and intact, there are certain foods that you will need to avoid while wearing braces. Most foods are safe as long as you cut them into small pieces, but hard foods like candy or tough foods like bagels can cause too much strain on your braces. Corn on the cob and apples can also be hazardous, as the motion used to eat these foods can damage braces. Hard pretzels, ice, popcorn, nuts, and raw carrots can also be problematic. Finally, avoid chewy or sticky foods, like gum or caramel, as these foods can easily stick to braces and are difficult to remove.