Orthodontic After Care
Braces and orthodontic appliances become a part of your daily life and after 1-2 weeks you will be accustomed to having something on your teeth. Braces require extra attention when cleaning your teeth and eating some foods can damage the braces.
Tooth brushing should be done 3 times every day. Brushing at school is not always possible, yet when you first get home or after a snack is a great time to brush your teeth. Proper brushing with braces takes 3 minutes; you should use the timer we provided. The toothbrush bristles need to be pointed underneath the wire and wings of the braces to get your teeth clean. You must brush your teeth from above and below the braces on your teeth. Don’t be afraid to brush your gums. If your gums bleed that is not a sign that you are brushing too hard, but shows you are leaving plaque on your teeth. You need to brush for longer and more often. Poor tooth brushing can lead to white spots, decalcifications, on your teeth that can be permanent. White spots are the beginning of a cavity.
Plaque disclosing tablets help you learn how to brush properly. Chew the pink tablet, swish the spit around your mouth while rubbing your tongue on your teeth, then spit. Look in the mirror, any pink spots you see on your teeth show you where you need to brush better. Brush your teeth with toothpaste to remove the plaque that is stained pink.
A Proxy Brush is used to clean between the wires and your teeth or gums. Push the proxy brush underneath the wire then back and forth to get plaque and food particles loose, then brush or rinse to flush out the material.
Flossing with braces is possible if a floss threader or Super Floss® from Oral-B® is used. Tie a piece of floss to the floss threader, and then use the plastic floss threader to get the floss underneath the wire. Once the floss is under the wire, the floss can be pushed between the teeth and moved up and down all the way to the gums. Take the floss out and repeat between the next teeth over. Super Floss® is a single piece of floss with a plastic coated end that can be used the same way without having to tie the floss onto a threader.
A Fluoride Rinse or anticavity rinse, such as Act® should be used every night before bed to help prevent white spots. Measure 10 millileters or 2 teaspoons into a small cup like the one that comes with liquid medicines. Swish the rinse around the mouth for 1 minute then spit out. Do not eat, drink, or rinse with water for 30 minutes after using the fluoride rinse.
Foods to Avoid
Certain foods can damage your braces, prolonging treatment, or get underneath the braces causing cavities. Food and drinks with a lot of sugar should be avoided to prevent cavities as well. The orthodontic motto is “Nothing Sticky, Nothing Chewy, and Nothing Hard.”
Sticky and chewy foods:
- Gum, sugarless and otherwise
- Caramel apples
- Now and Laters®
- Tootsie Rolls®
- Gummy bears
- Swedish Fish®
- Sour Patch Kids®
- Hard candy
- Corn on the cob
- Corn chips
- Pizza crust
- Hard pretzels
- Apples (unless sliced or cooked)
- carrots (unless sliced or cooked)
In addition, chewing on pens, pencils, fingernails, mouthguards, and clothing will damage your braces.