Keeping your teeth clean and free from plaque is always important, but it’s even more critical when wearing braces.
Because it’s harder to clean your teeth with braces, you’ll need to make an extra effort to prevent tooth decay while wearing them. When Dr. Brown removes your braces at the end of treatment, you’ll want to have a beautiful, white smile─not cavities or stained teeth!
Here are six ways you can avoid cavities while wearing braces or Invisalign:
1) Brush after every meal
Because braces will trap food on your teeth, it’s important to take the time to brush after each meal. The less time that food sits on your teeth, the less likely it is to cause tooth decay. Spend about ten seconds on each tooth before moving to the next one. Press your toothbrush firmly (but gently) so that the bristles spread into the gaps between your braces and your teeth. Brush in and around all of the brackets and wires. We suggest using a soft toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste.
2) Use special cleaning tools
An interdental toothbrush is very helpful for cleaning braces and we recommend using one, along with your regular toothbrush. You may also want to consider using a WaterPik for cleaning around your braces. For flossing, you’ll need to use special floss threaders to get in between teeth.
Yes, you can (and need to!) floss with braces. We’ll show you how at the beginning of your treatment. The floss threaders you’ll need are available at your grocery store, right next to the regular dental floss.
4) Use a fluoride mouth rinse after brushing
Even after you’ve done a good job brushing and flossing, there are still probably going to be some food particles left on your teeth. Rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse should get rid of these final culprits. If you’re in a spot where you can’t use a mouth rinse, even rinsing with water will help.
5) Avoid the no-no’s
In the grand scheme of things, it’s a short period in life that you’ll be in orthodontic treatment. So while you are, try to avoid those foods that are bad for your teeth with braces. Those foods will still be around when you get your braces off─we promise!
We’ll give you the full list when you start your treatment, but you know the main culprits: soft drinks (regular and diet); sports and fruit drinks; sticky foods like caramel, taffy or gum; and hard foods like candy, nuts, apples, or carrots.
6) Get regular dental check-ups
Another thing that’s always important, but even more so when wearing braces─regular dental check-ups. Make sure to see your dentist every six months or as recommended.
One of the advantages of wearing Invisalign braces is that you can remove the aligners to brush and floss your teeth. The main rule for keeping your teeth healthy with Invisalign braces: brush, floss, and rinse after you eat. You’ll also need to clean your aligners.
Just remember to remove the trays any time that you eat or drink anything other than water. If you don’t brush and floss after eating or drinking, the particles from food (and sugars or acids from drinks) will be trapped in the aligner and lead to decay. So don’t eat or drink anything─except water─while your aligners are in!
Take the time to care for your teeth with braces
If you take good care of your teeth while wearing braces, not only will you have perfectly straight teeth at the end of treatment, but they’ll also be without stains, pearly white, and cavity-free! Then you’ll know that the extra time you spent to take care of your teeth was well-worth it!
If you haven’t started orthodontic treatment yet, give us a call at MB Orthodontics. Dr. Brown will be happy to give you a free consultation and discuss treatment options with you.