Valentine’s Day is a chance to tell that special someone in your life that you love them. We think it’s also a great opportunity to show how much you love your smile by having a crush on your brush!
If you want beautiful, healthy teeth during and after orthodontic treatment, there are some simple things you can do every day to make that happen. Here’s your guide to taking care of your teeth with braces so you end up with the smile you’ve always dreamed of once the braces come off.
Why Brushing Matters Even More During Orthodontic Treatment
Let’s get this straight: it’s always important to brush your teeth to keep them clean and healthy. That said, it’s especially important to clean your teeth well when you have braces. That’s because food particles and sugars that get trapped by the brackets and wires that aren’t cleared away can, over time, discolor the enamel. This can cause white sections or spots on the surface of the tooth that wasn’t covered by the bracket.
The day you get your braces off should be an exciting day, but it can be very disappointing to have them removed only to discover that your teeth are straight – but discolored. Avoid this outcome by recommitting to brushing well during treatment!
What Kind of Brush is Best with Braces?
Electric toothbrushes have been shown to do a better job of removing plaque and reducing gingivitis (gum inflammation) compared to manual brushes. For that reason, we recommend an electric toothbrush to keep your teeth and braces clean during treatment. There are many different kinds at many different price points so you can surely find one that fits your preferences and budget.
But the truth is, any brush – electric or manual – can effectively clean the teeth and braces when used properly. If you do choose a manual brush over an electric one, select one with soft bristles, as recommended by the American Dental Association, and choose one with a small head which is generally better at reaching hard-to-reach areas.
Flossing Is Just as Important
While you’re showing your brush some love, don’t forget the floss. Flossing is also a crucial part of your oral hygiene routine during orthodontic treatment, as it not only cleans in between teeth and keeps the gums healthy, but cleans the wire, as well.
It’s true that flossing can be a challenge with braces, but it’s totally doable with the right tools. A simple floss threader – a small plastic loop – can help you get floss in between the wire and the teeth. Small interdental or interproximal brushes are also designed to fit in between teeth and where a regular toothbrush can’t go. Other high-tech options that do the job of flossing include water flossers and air flossers. Try different options until you find something you like and that you can stick with.
Supercharge Your Oral Care for Maximum Results
Here are some simple things you can do to take even better care of your teeth and braces during treatment:
- Brush every time you eat. You should brush twice a day for two minutes – minimum. But if you can take a couple minutes after every meal and snack (and that includes any drinking any beverage that’s not sugar free), that’s even better.
- Forget sodas and sports drinks. What you put in your mouth has a huge effect on your oral health, and that includes beverages. Opt for braces-friendly drinks like milk or green tea over sports drinks and sodas which are not only loaded with sugar, but are filled with enamel-eroding acids, too. Best choice by far? Water. It’s sugar-free and helps clear away food particles after meals, so make it a regular part of your day.
- Stop smoking. This message is for the adult patients who smoke: it’s time to stop. In addition to the numerous effects cigarette smoking has on health, it’s also very bad for oral health. Smoking is associated with gum disease, oral cancer, and tooth loss, and can lead to discoloration of the teeth.
YOU Are in Charge of Your Before and After!
Everyone wants a beautiful, straight, white smile at the end of orthodontic treatment. But it’s not as simple as sitting back and letting your braces do all the work. The truth is, the way you take care of your teeth and braces during treatment can affect the final results once the braces come off. While you have a whole team to support you during your journey, remember that you are ultimately in charge of your teeth and your own before and after.