KEEP YOUR SMILE HEALTHY WHILE WEARING BRACES
If you have been referred for orthodontic treatment, now is the time to seek it out. Not only will you benefit from a beautiful smile, you will know your smile is healthy as well. Early intervention can help prevent future issues with spacing and crowding of your teeth. Below, Dr. April Lee will talk to you about why it is important for you to care for your mouth, teeth, and gums while wearing braces.
When you take a look in the mirror at your braces, you will notice that there are many different types of wires and brackets that connect your braces to each other. Because of this, there are small areas where plaque and food can become lodged and you may not even see it. This also means that gingivitis, tooth decay, or even periodontitis can form and cause serious problems with your teeth and the supporting structures underneath.
Dr. Lee wants you to know that you must pay attention to your braces and clean them properly day in and out. You should never skip a brushing or flossing simply because you feel there isn’t enough time in the day. Proper oral health care now means avoiding suffering permanent damage to teeth and gums later, not to mention time and money!
So how can you tell if you already have signs of poor oral hygeine? Often times if you take a close look in your mouth you can see swollen, red, or bleeding gums. Otherwise you might notice a white film on the tooth surface, or even spots of white or brown stains on the enamel surface itself which is an early sign of dental decay.
YOUR DIET MATTERS
What you eat and drink matters. Especially, high acid foods and drinks can lead to erosion of the tooth enamel and ultimately cause decay. You should have regular checkups to ensure that your teeth are always healthy.
Below, you will find a convenient chart that shows you some of the best foods and drinks that you should consume when you have braces. The key is to find foods low in acid.
- Soda or soft drinks
- Fruit juices
- Sports drinks
- BBQ sauce
You are likely already aware that sugary drinks such as fruit juices, sports drinks, and soft drinks can lead to serious tooth decay. In addition, you want to avoid foods that are high in starch such as potato chips. This is because plaque sticks easily to these substances and then becomes attached to your teeth.
While you may want to consume a soft drink or two, know that they are bad for your teeth and it is because of how much sugar is in them and also the acidic additives. Soda can lead to cavities. So if you must indulge in these types of dietary choices make sure to brush and floss to remove any sugary residue off your teeth as soon as possible.
Also, there are many different types of foods that can actually break your braces, snap the wires, or cause the bands to come detached. Dr. Lee recommends that you avoid eating any type of hard foods such as chips, nuts, and hard candy. You do not want to consume whole apples and carrots unless they have been sliced very thinly or are cooked and soft.
It is VITAL that you avoid any chewy candy, popcorn, ice, toffee, caramel, and similar items as they can ruin your braces. If you do accidentally break your braces, call our office in Burlingame now! (650)231-2680.
CARING FOR YOUR BRACES AT HOME IS SIMPLE
You may think that caring for your braces is difficult, but it is actually quite easy. Dr. Lee wants you to know that it will take some practice to get good at it, but once you have a good grasp on it, cleaning your braces will come natural to you.
- If you have been provided a dental appliance with removable elastic, take the elastic off before you brush.
- You should use a soft toothbrush that you can easily manipulate around in your mouth. You need to be able to move it in a 45-degree motion without any issues.
- Use small, circular motions to clean your teeth and spend about 10 seconds minimum on each tooth before you move on to the next one. Make sure you brush from one tooth to the next in a pattern, so you do not skip any teeth.
- Brush the braces as gently as possible, but do use enough pressure to make sure the bristles go behind the brackets on your teeth. You may want to invest in an automatic toothbrush.
- You need to brush the inside and outside surface of each tooth, which means you should spend a minimum of a couple minutes total brushing your teeth.
- On the chewing surface of your teeth, you want to use more pressure and a back and forth motion to clean the tooth.
- You should spit out any additional toothpaste in your mouth. Do NOT swallow the extra paste.
- If you took off any elastics, replace them at this time and inspect your teeth in the mirror.
- Rinse your mouth out with a fluoride wash that has been prescribed by Dr. Lee.
- Use any additional products prescribed by Burlingame Smile Studio and use as directed.
Summary chart in PDF form can be found in our post-op instructions page.
It is important that you utilize products made with fluoride to prevent decay as well. Since your teeth will be harder to clean with braces, the fluoride washes can help to remove the plaque and keep it to a minimum. Dr. Lee recommends that you use a fluoride toothpaste after every meal or a minimum of twice per day. The fluoride will work to make your teeth more resistant to the bacteria.