Keeping a Healthy Smile
Braces create small ledges, nooks and crannies for food deposits, which can lead to cavities and gum problems. This makes brushing and flossing even more important while you are wearing braces. When you brush and floss, handle your appliances carefully so you won’t break or loosen them. Following these brushing and eating tips will keep your appliances and your smile healthy.
Be sure to brush your teeth right after every meal and before you go to bed. It’s best to use fluoride toothpaste to help fight cavities. Try to brush as follows:
- Carefully use a proxy brush between the archwire and the tooth to loosen food.
- Start by brushing the cheek side of each tooth at least 10 times.
- Then brush where your gums and teeth meet, using a circular motion.
- Brush the tongue side surface of each tooth at least 10 times as well.
- Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth last.
Because your toothbrush won’t reach between your teeth, brushing alone won’t keep your teeth clean and healthy. Flossing will help. A floss threader, available from us or a pharmacy, helps you floss with braces on.
Floss once a day, as follows:
- Thread floss through the threader and tie a single knot over the threader.
- Slip the threader under the archwire and grasp the floss portion.
- Pull the floss between two teeth and up under your gum margins.
- Repeat between all teeth, and gently pull the floss off the threader.
- Rinse with lots of clean water, and watch your teeth and braces sparkle!
Fluoride products are used in moderation to prevent cavities, white marks, or decalcification spots around or under your braces. Use fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwashes daily as directed.
If you are struggling with your hygiene, you might to consider having your hygienist clean your teeth every three months instead of every six months. You should be brushing at least three times a day – once at breakfast, at lunch and before you go to bed. If you are not able to brush after you eat, be sure to rinse thoroughly with water and NEVER skip brushing at night before you go to bed.
While you are wearing braces, you can eat almost all of your favourite foods. Please stay away from these troublemakers:
- Sticky foods, like gum, toffee and caramels
- Hard food like apples and carrots (cut them into pieces)