You may find it uncomfortable and inconvenient at first, but even so, you must continue to keep up with good dental habits and maintain excellent oral hygiene.
So you’ve come back from the orthodontist with a set of braces. You may find it uncomfortable and inconvenient at first, but even so, you must continue to keep up with good dental habits and maintain excellent oral hygiene. After all, you’ve decided to wear braces for a better smile so why would you undo all that hard work with poor dental habits?
There are many different types of braces in the market: traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and removable aligners. No matter what type of braces you have, you will need to put in a bit more effort into your dental habits than others who don’t. You may need some time to get used to the extra work, but don’t worry, you can do it with a bit of patience!
Here’s what you need to do to care for your teeth when you have braces.
We know that dentists recommend everyone to brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening. When you have braces however, it is recommended that you brush your teeth after every meal.
This is because braces tend to accumulate plaque and small food particles, which in turn can lead to a myriad of dental problems. It is best to brush after every meal (even snacks) to make sure that your teeth and braces are free from food residue.
Use short brushing strokes and remember to brush around the surface (inside, outside as well as the chewing surface) of every tooth. You should also brush your gums just above the braces, in a circular motion gently, and at a 45-degree angle towards the gum. You should pay extra attention to the braces with hooks as these are the areas that are more likely to trap plaque.
Unless you’re at home all day, this means that you will need to bring your toothbrush and toothpaste with you to work or school. If you’ve forgotten to bring them out for the day, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
You don’t have to buy an electric toothbrush; any toothbrush with soft round bristles will do the job. But if you do prefer an electric toothbrush and feel that it will encourage you to brush your teeth after every meal, one with a round oscillating head would be preferred.
Toothpaste with fluoride above 1000 ppm is recommended. Fluoride helps prevent cavities by strengthening the enamel surface and inhibits plaque bacterial growth. If you have sensitive teeth or gums, you might want to look for a toothpaste with extra desensitising ingredients.
We’ve talked about the benefits of fluoride earlier, so find a fluoride mouthwash as well. Rinse your mouth after brushing with a fluoride mouthrinse for about one minute to help prevent cavities. You should do this at least once a day at night. There is no need to use mouthwash after every meal.
Flossing with braces is possible! In fact, there are some flossing products in the market that are specifically meant for people with braces. Your dentist may also recommend you certain products.
You may use a normal floss with or without a floss threader, a superfloss or an interdental (interproximal) brush. A waxed floss might be less likely to snag on your braces. There are also interspace brushes that are designed to clean larger spaces and can help with those hard-to-reach areas.
You should floss once a day to get rid of any food particles trapped between your teeth or in the wiring of your braces. Do not use too much force, and floss gently and carefully between the teeth. You can also refer to the instructions if you have purchased a flossing product that is meant for use with braces.
If you want to make your dental care easier, be sure to avoid certain types of food. Sticky, chewy or hard foods such as caramels, popcorn or nuts can easily get stuck to your braces and become really difficult to remove.
For crunchy, healthy and delicious items such as apples and carrots, you should cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces to prevent damage to the wires. There is no need to avoid eating these altogether.
If you are unsure, check with your dentist at your next visit and ask your dentist to show you how you should properly care for your teeth. Better yet, check out this excellent video now for a proper demonstration on how to care for your teeth when you have braces.
Watch, learn, and practise until perfect!
This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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