When your mouth is loaded with extras like bands, brackets, and wires, from your orthodontic braces, brushing your teeth gets tougher and extra important. Plus, dental braces interfere with the chewing process that normally bathes and exercises gums, and helps clean teeth. General dental care like caring for your teeth and keeping them cavity-free, is a top priority during orthodontics treatment.
While proper-fitting bands or brackets usually protect the covered portion of your teeth, the brackets and wires on the outside of teeth make it harder for proper dental care.
Trapped food particles and plaque are a breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria in your dental braces. Gum disease also can develop, causing swelling and making cleaning even more challenging and painful. Improper dental care can also stain tooth enamel.
It's best to brush within five minutes after eating anything, even if you're just snacking, and especially after a meal. Brushing away cavity-causing bacteria helps keep your teeth cavity-free. Carry a travel toothbrush in a backpack, purse or briefcase to always have on hand for brushing away from home.
You may also want to use a water oral hygiene device that helps to remove food particles from your dental braces that the toothbrush may not reach. It should be used in addition to brushing and flossing, not as a substitute for brushing.
While wearing dental braces for teeth, be sure to schedule regular dental care exams every three to six months for cleanings to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Ask your dentist and orthodontist how often they wish to see you.
By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO