It’s that time of year again. That’s right, you guessed it – Orthodontics Awareness Month.
In October we’re all gearing up for the winter holiday season. A time filled with extra desserts, pumpkin spice lattes, and more sticky candy on Halloween than you can eat in a year. So, let’s kick it off right with some tips on how to maintain your oral health while wearing braces.
Just like people without braces, people with orthodontics should brush at least twice a day. Preferably, you would brush after every meal. Alternatively, rinsing your mouth out with water or mouthwash is a good go-between if you can’t brush.
Soft-bristle toothbrushes or electric toothbrushes are going to be your best bet. A toothbrush with hard bristles may wear down your wires and brackets, as well as potentially damaging your gums or enamel.
When brushing, orthodontists suggest using fluoride toothpaste to further protect tooth enamel. Be sure to start at the gumline, with your toothbrush angled into the braces. This will ensure the toothbrush is hitting not only the gums and the teeth, but also the space between the wires.
Flossing with Braces
Nobody likes flossing, and people with braces probably like it less. But flossing is a central part of oral health.
A correct flossing technique will ensure the food and plaque are removed from between the gum and the tooth. This cuts down on tooth decay, bad breath, and infections.
When flossing with braces, use the same techniques you would as if you didn’t use braces , just allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes to get the job done. While using traditional floss, slide it between the gum and the tooth gently and rub it up and down to remove the plaque and food.
Using an oral irrigator or a Waterpik will make things go a lot smoother and a lot faster, especially if you have braces. These products use high pressure water streams to knock out the food from between your braces and between your gums and teeth.
Tapered tips are available for most brand water picks and are particularly useful if you have braces.
What Can I Eat with Braces?
In general, dentists and orthodontists alike will recommend steering away from sugary or starchy foods. These types of foods cause more plaque buildup on the teeth. This is especially true for those with braces, not because braces cause more plaque buildup, but because it is more difficult to clean the plaque off the teeth if there are braces.
Foods like caramel, gum, taffy, or anything especially sticky are off-limits. Also off-limits is anything hard or anything you have to bite down onto, like corn on the cob, ice, whole apples, or hard nuts.
Follow Up with Your Orthodontist
Depending on your orthodontist, your doctor will recommend a specific frequency for your follow-ups. This is essential for adjusting your braces and making sure they’re not working too much or too little.
Any severe pain you experience from your orthodontics should be discussed with your doctor. Although, you will experience some soreness and fatigue after routine adjustments.
At Murfreesboro Family Dentistry, we are equipped and capable of keeping your smile healthy, even with braces. Call us to find out how we can keep your treatments on track for this winter holiday season.