Does your son or daughter have braces?
It’s more difficult to keep your teeth clean if you wear braces. There are numerous places bits of food can hide. It’s challenging to get toothbrush bristles in all those nooks and crannies.
Food bits turn to bacteria
The brackets and wires on braces create places where harmful bacteria can thrive.
If brace wearers don’t practice consistent, proper oral hygiene, their teeth can become permanently damaged.
The cycle of decay in 5 stages:
- The bits of food collect in the tiny spaces in and around the brackets and wires
- The bacteria in the food particles multiply
- The bacteria creates plaque
- The plaque erodes the enamel
- The plaque destroys enamel and the dentin below and forms a cavity
Bacteria isn’t good for gums, either
Burlingame orthodontic patients can also develop gum disease (gingivitis). Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Periodontitis can bring about bone recession and tooth loss.
Protect teeth with a healthy diet plus proper oral hygiene
Children with braces should pay extra attention to eating a healthy diet. This includes limiting snacks between meals. Be aware that highly-acidic foods and beverages can damage enamel.
Avoid soda pop and energy drinks
There are few beverages as detrimental as soda and energy drinks, both of which have enamel-eroding acid and sugar.
How to brush with braces
Here are the steps to effective brushing while wearing braces, courtesy of Colgate:
- Use fluoride toothpaste
- Remove elastics before brushing
- Place your brush at a 45-degree angle against the gums
- Gently brush with a circular motion along the gum line where the gums and teeth meet
- Brush at least 10 seconds on each tooth
- Gently brush the brackets
- Press the brush firmly so that the bristles spread into the gaps between the wire and the tooth
- Brush in and around all of the brackets and be certain to get under the wires (a battery-powered brush may be helpful)
- For the chewing surfaces, use a firm back and forth motion
- Spit out excess toothpaste
- Closely inspect your teeth and braces in the mirror to check that they are clean and shiny
- Replace the elastics
- Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash for 1 minute to help avoid cavities and white spots
- Use other oral care products as prescribed by your dental professional1
It is also vital to floss while wearing braces. We’ll address that in another post.
If you are new to the San Francisco area and looking for an experienced pediatric orthodontist, we invite you to give us a call.
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1“Protecting Your Healthy Smile while Wearing Braces,” Colgate Professional, http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patient-education/articles/protecting-your-healthy-smile-while-wearing-braces
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