Braces can trap food very easily, which contributes to formation of dental plaque. If plaque is not removed from teeth and from around braces, patients run the risk of developing gum disease, cavities and bad breath. Plaque is a mixture of bacteria, debris and food particles. The bacteria consume sugars and excrete acids. The acids can make your gums inflame (gingivitis), dissolve the enamel on your teeth and cause bad breath (halitosis).
It’s important to remove the plaque thoroughly and frequently. Then, when your braces come off, the surfaces of your teeth underneath the braces will be healthy and strong and look good. Here are some tips to help you:
- It is better to use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Soft bristles can adopt better to the surface of the tooth and are able to access the nooks and crannies around your braces and orthodontic appliances easier. They also don’t cause any irritation to your gums.
- Make sure that the tooth brush manufacturing company is approved by American Dental Association (ADA) and the handle fits your hand ergonomically for easy brushing.
- Electric toothbrushes are not necessary, but if you have one, it’s safe to use it on your braces. Just be careful not to hit the plastic back of the brush against your braces because it can damage them. Also, if possible avoid the highest setting to minimize the risk of breaking and loosening your braces.
- It is recommended to brush after each meal. This ensures that there is no food particles trapped in or around the braces. If a toothbrush is not available after your meal, rinse your mouth thoroughly with copious amount of water.
It is necessary to floss at least once a day. Floss threader and special kind of floss that is designed specifically for orthodontic patients can help you get into the space between the wires and your gumline.. When your braces are first put on, we will demonstrate how these products are used and provide sample for you.
You need to use a fluoridated toothpaste. The brand is not important as long as it has the ADA seal of approval.
An over-the-counter fluoride rinse might be recommended to you . These rinses usually provide enough fluoride to help protect your teeth against cavities during orthodontic treatment. However, if you have a history of multiple cavities or are otherwise at risk of decay, you may be prescribed a rinse that contains higher concentration of fluoride. Another option to receive your fluoride is to consider an office treatment. This fluoride is usually in the form of a gel or varnish and is administered by a dental professional. During orthodontic treatment, see your family dentist for a complete examination every three to six months.