Maintaining good oral hygiene is critical to avoiding tooth decay and gum disease. Furthermore, good oral hygiene is one of the pillars of accomplishing planned results during orthodontic treatment.
In other words, orthodontic treatment is worthless without following a strict hygiene protocol. For this reason, orthodontists encourage patients to visit a dentist for a preliminary cavity and periodontal checkup to carry on orthodontic treatment and periodical control visits.
This article encompasses the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene with braces. Also, we refer to the extent of following dietary recommendations for treatment success.
How To Keep Good Hygiene With Braces?
Do you have braces, or are you thinking of getting them? Here we explain all the recommendations for oral hygiene with braces. Of course, if you currently wear orthodontic braces, oral hygiene must be more exhaustive.
Brushing and flossing have to take longer than in a patient without braces. Therefore, it is essential that when performing oral hygiene, you take into account the following aspects:
Use a Special Toothbrush
First, you must use a special toothbrush for orthodontics, which is different from a traditional one. Your special brush to clean your teeth during braces treatment should have soft bristles so as not to damage the orthodontic device.
Second, you should use dental floss attached with a threader that is ideal for cleaning teeth with braces. This dental floss will allow you to insert it in the space between the teeth and below the tooth wire of the lower arch (mandible) and between the teeth above the upper archwire (maxilla).
Third, you must use interproximal or interdental brushes. These attachments have brush-like bristles you can insert between the teeth and mechanically remove food debris.
Interproximal flossers are easy to handle. You can maneuver them by squeezing the handle with the thumb and index finger and making movements from front to back and from top to bottom, between the brackets and the teeth.
Additionally, remember that interproximal brushes are an outstanding aid to oral hygiene.
Fourth, whenever you use dental floss, you should complement its use with a mouthwash with fluoride to reduce the appearance of cavities.
You must consider these four elements for excellent oral health during orthodontic treatment. Other elements will also help us clean adequately in places where the brush or dental floss does not reach.
Pressurized Water Irrigators
You can get a water irrigator that launches jets of pressurized water on the areas where you have identified a food residue. These products are used on all teeth and can reach everywhere.
Generally, pressurized water irrigators are very good for the hygiene of patients with braces. However, be careful with this; the pressurized water irrigator does not replace the use of a brush or dental floss.
During orthodontic treatment with braces, you need a cleaning checkup visit with the dentist every six months. However, many patients have braces installed and skip going to the dentist during the entire orthodontic treatment.
This is worrying because caries, gum, or bone disease can also appear during orthodontic treatment. Therefore, remember to have cleanings with the dentist every six months during orthodontics.
Remember that orthodontics is what is going to give us a much more beautiful smile, but oral hygiene is what is going to give that smile a shine and naturalness.
What Not To Eat With Braces?
Do you like movies? If you do and also wear braces, this message is for you. The first thing we usually do before sitting on the couch and press play to our favorite movie is making popcorn, right?
Well, this is something you must forego during orthodontic treatment. If it were for the soft part of popcorn, that shouldn’t be a problem, but a bite on the hard part can cause a bracket to lose or a wire to break or derail.
For this reason, some patients ask about foods they can and cannot eat during orthodontic treatment. So here we include some of the foods you must avoid while on braces.
Nuts or Seeds
Orthodontists cement brackets on teeth and wires and elastics support on brackets. If a patient bites a hard nut or seed, she risks getting a bracket loose, breaking a wire or an elastic.
However, in addition to potentially damaging the appliances, nuts and seeds tend to get stuck between braces and teeth and wires, so here you have two good reasons to avoid them.
Hard-to-Bite Fruits or Vegetables
Apples are forbidden fruit. Brackets are in front of teeth; if you try to give the first bite to an apple, you will rip it apart with your brackets. Guess what could happen? Yes, a front bracket might get hanging out.
Therefore, we recommend that patients avoid biting apples, pears, and other hard-to-bite fruits or vegetables like carrots. Instead, you can cut fruits into small, easy-to-bite pieces and chew with molars rather than biting with front teeth.
Hard Crusts and Bread
First, crusts are crunchy and can break any of the components of a braces system. However, more importantly, starchy foods get stuck on teeth after chewing them. These foods have sugars that bacteria love.
From any point you see it, starchy crusts and bread might become a problem for patients. Indeed, we recommend patients avoid any sugary food or drink. We include a list of foods you should cross out from your refrigerator list.
- Candy (especially hard candy);
- Chips, hard shell tacos;
- Crunchy potato chips;
- Hard cookies;
- Hard to bite or raw meat;
- Pretzels and;
- Gum (ask your orthodontist if you can chew ADA-approved gum).
What To Eat With Braces?
You can eat anything easy to bite. We recommend patients also avoid eating sugary or starchy foods during the entire treatment. However, limiting food ingestion might be complicated at times.
Therefore, we recommend patients practice good oral hygiene habits for a person with braces, as described in the first part of this article. So you have an idea, we list some of the foods we recommend patients eat during their orthodontic treatment.
- Cooked vegetables;
- Protein (fish, dairy products, eggs, chicken fillets);
- Fiber (oatmeal, cereals, and tubers);
- Soft fruits (berries, papaya).
You can broaden this list, as you already understand the idea. You must avoid hard-to-bite, crunchy, sticky, sugary, and starchy foods.
What To Eat With Braces the First Week?
You will feel discomfort and tolerable soreness on the first three days after braces installation and adjustments. So, there are foods we recommend you definitely avoid d.uring this time. We have included a list for your reference.
- Pasta Dishes;
- Rice Dishes;
- Mashed Potatoes and;
- Blended foods and smoothies.
Talk to Your Orange Orthodontist
At Hong Orthodontics, we combine the cutting-edge technology you expect with the family-oriented atmosphere you desire and deserve. Dr. Justin Hong, your trusted Irvine orthodontist, and our friendly team want to make your smile shine confidently and ensure you receive the highest quality orthodontic care available in the Irvine and Orange, CA, areas!
Set an appointment, and Dr. Hong and their team will kindly explain all details you need to know about your orthodontic treatment and warmly help you go through the entire process to get a smile you will love.