Caring for your teeth and fixed braces
Braces can achieve fantastic things, but they do require a small amount of commitment. To get the best results from your orthodontic treatment, it’s vital that you keep your teeth clean and healthy.
Brush like a pro
During your orthodontic treatment, you’ll need to dedicate a little more time to brushing your teeth – making sure you carefully brush around your brackets and between your wires. To make sure you clean right up against the brackets of your brace, we recommend using interdental brushes (below). You can also use these to clean in between your teeth instead of floss.
Ideally you should be giving your teeth a quick brush after every meal to remove leftover morsels of food, which could otherwise encourage decay. If it’s not practical to brush your teeth, the next best thing is to rinse your mouth with some water.
Disclosing tablets are a great way to make sure your brushing is up to scratch. They contain a dye that clings to plaque (the sticky film of bacteria that we need to brush away every day) so you can see any areas you’ve missed while brushing. Simply chew a tablet, rinse your mouth and voila! Any areas of plaque will be revealed.
Check-ups as usual
It’s important to continue to see your dentist for regular dental health checks during your orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontic check-ups aren’t a substitute for a comprehensive health examination.
We might also recommend more frequent hygiene appointments to keep your teeth pristine, particularly if we spot any tartar (hardened plaque) beginning to form.
If your teeth aren’t kept clean throughout your treatment, you run this risk of developing cavities, gum disease or white spots (areas of demineralisation). If we became particularly concerned about the health of your teeth, we would recommend removing your brace until the problem could be resolved.
Ditch the toffees
There are certain foods that don’t mix well with braces, and you’ll need to wave goodbye to anything chewy or sticky, which might knock a bracket off.
You should also steer clear of hard, crunchy foods like apples and carrots, which again could damage your brace’s brackets or wires. If you’re very determined, these can be cut up into bite-sized pieces and chewed using the back teeth.
Ideally try to avoid sugar-laden, fizzy or acidic drinks like cola and wine as best you can. When you do indulge, drinking through a straw will help the liquid bypass your teeth. Sugary foods should also be avoided or limited to mealtimes – the bacteria in your mouth love sugar, increasing your risk of acid erosion and decay. The same goes for acidic foods like citrus fruits.
Finally, you’ll want to limit anything that might stain your teeth – revealing small white squares when your brace comes off! Side-step culprits like red wine, coffee and ketchup. If it would stain your t-shirt, it will stain your teeth.
It’s important to keep a close eye on your teeth while wearing braces. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch as soon as you can. We’d also like to reassure you that most of our patients complete their treatment without any problems.