Braces and Proper Oral Hygiene
If your teen is experiencing overcrowded or crooked teeth, he may need braces. Braces can lead to straight teeth, improved dental function, and an attractive smile. However, it is important to care for your teeth even when you have braces on, and some tips for staying healthy and comfortable while you are wearing braces are outlined below.
Cleaning Your Braces and Teeth
To keep your braces clean, it is recommended that you brush your teeth after each meal, and you should also use a special floss threader each day to ensure that the space between and under your braces are clean. Use a mirror to ensure that any extra food particles have been removed. It is also important to floss your teeth properly, and although this is tricky, you can do it by following a few simple steps:
- Use waxed floss, as un-waxed floss will be more likely to get stuck in your braces. Dental tape may also be used to clean around the braces if floss isn’t an option.
- Use about 18 inches of floss in order to clean your teeth.
- Ensure that the floss is threaded carefully, and make sure that it’s threaded under the main braces wire before you pass it between two teeth. Then take the floss out and re-thread it back under the main wire to get to the next tooth.
- Ensure that you don’t snap the floss, and move it vertically against each side of the tooth in order to properly remove debris.
Certain foods should be avoided in order to best care for your braces, and soda and sweets should be avoided because they can promote gum disease and tooth decay. Chewy or sticky food like chewing gum, taffy, or caramel can also get stuck to braces, and this can make it hard to get off. You should also be careful when eating hard foods like nuts, jerky, or popcorn. Work to prevent wire damage by cutting foods into bite-sized pieces prior to eating them. If you have any questions about what foods you should or shouldn’t eat while having braces, be sure to ask Dr. Matthews.
Good oral hygiene when you are wearing braces is extremely important because plaque can be trapped between the wires and brackets and this can result in stains and decay. Therefore, it is essential that you take proper care of your teeth when your braces are on.