Do you have braces in your teeth? Does it make it difficult to achieve a good oral hygiene? Do not worry as the help you need is within reach.
Braces are orthodontic devices use on the teeth to correct crooked teeth or malocclusions (crowding of teeth around the mouth). Braces can be either for structural or cosmetic use. However, it is important to take good care of braces to prevent damage to the braces themselves, the teeth underneath as well as make the braces more comfortable to wear. Braces have countless tiny spaces which can trap food and cause plaque. Plaques can lead to many other dental problems. It is necessary to ensure proper oral hygiene to reduce dental problems especially when braces are involved.
Below are ways to care for the teeth with braces.
- Brushing: Just as we know that brushing of teeth is important in ensuring good oral hygiene. Special care is actually needed when brushing teeth with braces because plaque can easily get trapped around them. It is recommended that you brush your teeth twice daily in the morning and at bedtime but teeth with braces should be brushed after every meal at any time of the day. This is because food particles can easily get trapped between the braces and if left for long can lead to dental problems or complications. Use a soft bristled brush or an electric brush with fluoride toothpaste to brush teeth with braces. Brush teeth along 45degree angle at gum line using small circular motions. Then place the toothbrush on top of the brackets, angling down to brush on top of each bracket. Finally, reposition the brush to brush the bottom of the bracket as well as the wire, angling the toothbrush up.
- Flossing: flossing is the process of using a soft thread of floss silk or similar material (dental floss) used to clean between the teeth. Flossing is great for cleaning the teeth most especially the ones with brace as it helps to remove particles of food around the teeth and wires. Flossing should be done once a day. It is crucial to ensure that you clean between the braces and under the wires as well.
- Rinsing: Rinse the mouth after eating any food to remove food particles trapped in the teeth. You can do this by using a mouthwash with fluoride which will help preserve the cavities, gums and reduce stain or discoloration from the teeth. Avoid swallowing the mouth wash, you can swish it from one side in the mouth to another to ensure all parts of the teeth are covered to kill bacteria and prevent further dental complications.
- Eat well: The mouth is the first line of contact of food to the body. It is important you avoid eating sticky sweets or foods that can get trapped in the braces of the teeth. Starchy foods and snacks can cause build-up plaques around the brackets and cause teeth stain and gum disease. Other foods to avoid include:
- Chewing gums
- Dried fruits
- Pop corn
- Hard texture fruits like apple and carrot should also be avoided.
- Safety devices: Wear mouth guard if you want to take part in any sport or recreational activity. Mouth guards helps to protect the mouth from lip injuries. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer damage to the teeth if they are not wearing a mouth guard. Braces or not, mouth guards are one of easiest ways to prevent dental injuries. Most mouth guards for braces are bulky and slippery, it is crucial to ensure you get the ones you’re comfortable with.
- See your dentist /orthodontist regularly: During the time that you have braces on your teeth, you will need to visit the orthodontist regularly for adjustments of your braces. Your dentist will also check the condition of your teeth and observe any sign or change in the colour, pain, swelling or discolouration of your teeth. Concerns about your appliances and any problems with broken parts, should also be brought to your orthodontist’s attention immediately. Other professional cleaning and routine treatment for the teeth can also be carried out to prevent mouth odour and tooth decay.