When people come to us for cosmetic dentistry services such as braces, they regularly ask if they need to do anything different to ensure their teeth and gums stay healthy, and they don’t do anything to hinder their orthodontic treatment.
These are good questions to ask, as the brackets and wires of braces offer many places for food and plaque to get caught. Fortunately, with diligent oral care (and a few tips from us) your teeth and gums will stay in perfect health.
Ten Steps to Healthy Teeth and Braces
Brushing your teeth is a little more complicated with cosmetic dentistry, as you need to make sure to effectively cover all of the brackets and wires in addition to the rest of your mouth.
Here are ten easy steps you can follow to keep your teeth and gums gleaming and healthy.
- Take off any elastics fitted to your braces.
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and your choice of fluoride toothpaste to gently brush the point where your teeth meet your gums, as lots of food can get stuck here. Make sure to have the brush at a 45 degree angle and to use a circular motion, for best effect.
- Don’t just gloss over your teeth; give each individual tooth ten seconds of brushing to be thorough.
- Now for the braces. Work the toothbrush’s bristles between the wires and teeth, gently brushing around and under all brackets and wires. An electric toothbrush can help here, as it can be hard to reach and effectively clean every nook and cranny of your braces with a regular brush.
- Make sure you brush the inner and outer edges of your teeth. It’s easy to forget the inside surface, so be diligent.
- Food often gets pressed into the chewing surfaces of teeth (such as molars), so firmly brush back and forth over these areas to remove it.
- Spit out any remaining toothpaste, and check your teeth to make sure you’ve covered every place.
- Put your elastics in. This can be a good time to switch the old ones out for a fresh set, as they wear down over the course of the day.
- Consider using disclosing tablets (available from pharmacies) to highlight any lingering plaque, so you know where to focus your efforts in future.
- Use mouthwash or other oral hygiene products as your orthodontist recommends.
Break bad habits, not your braces
Rein in any bad habits like nail biting, pencil chewing and picking at wires, as these can cause serious damage to your braces. Also, if you haven’t been taking care of your teeth, the enamel surface can start to decay and show white spots. You can get cosmetic teeth whitening to correct this, but prevention is better than the cure!