Oral Hygiene Meets Orthodontics
If you or your child recently got braces to straighten your smile, you may realize that brushing and flossing your teeth is more challenging than it was before. While you are dreaming of that bright, straight smile once your treatment is complete, there are necessary steps that need to be taken to prevent tooth decay. Otherwise, you may run into some oral health complications along this journey.
Here are precautions you can take to prevent tooth decay with braces:
1. Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal
We know this sounds like a lot of extra work, but it is worth it to reap the rewards of a healthy smile! Braces make it easy for food particles to get caught in your brackets and cling to your teeth — causing a buildup of plaque and leading to tooth decay or gum disease.
We recommend having a small care kit to bring with you to keep in your office desk or school backpack. Pack your kit with tools like a travel-sized toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste, a floss threader, an interdental brush, mouthwash, and orthodontic wax. That way, you are always prepared to clean your pearly whites after an impromptu snack break or regular meal.
2. Use the Proper Tools
Brushing your teeth with braces is similar to brushing your teeth without them. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush for approximately two minutes. However, sometimes it is tricky to get to those hard-to-reach places.
Using a special tool like an interdental brush cleans where toothbrushes can't and gets in between your brackets to remove any lingering food particles or plaque buildup.
Another beneficial tool is a floss threader, a plastic tool that helps navigate dental floss behind orthodontic wires. Brushing with an electric toothbrush and using a water flosser are other options to benefit your oral health.
3. Watch What You Eat
It is not a secret that there are certain foods to avoid while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Foods that are chewy or sticky not only can damage your brackets and wires but can also increase your likelihood of tooth decay. That means you may have to swap out that saltwater taffy for yogurt or banana. Hard and crunchy foods are also on the list of foods to avoid. While you may not be able to bite into a carrot or apple whole, you can cut them into smaller bits to prevent any damage.
4. Schedule Orthodontist Visits
The best way to prevent tooth decay with braces is by regularly attending your orthodontist appointments. Those appointments are not only necessary for making adjustments to your appliances but also for examining your oral health.
Improving Your Smile at LVL Orthodontics
At LVL Orthodontics, we are well trained in improving the overall quality of life and oral health in our patients. If you suffer from crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, reach out to LVL Orthodontics by contacting us online or calling (469) 300-5213. We are ready to help you achieve your smile goals.