Braces help many people to straighten their smiles, but keeping your teeth clean and healthy while you have them can be a challenge. Many people who have braces end up developing some degree of tooth decay or gum inflammation during their treatment. Here are some tips that can help you to avoid these side effects and keep your smile both straight and healthy.
1. Don't Stop Flossing
Flossing your teeth when you have braces can be difficult, but that doesn't mean you should give up on interdental hygiene altogether. If using string floss is no longer possible because of the positions of the wires, you can use floss picks or a water flosser to clean between your teeth. Making interdental cleaning part of your daily dental hygiene routine can help to slow down the build-up of plaque and therefore reduce your risk of developing gum disease or tooth decay.
2. Use the Right Toothbrush
Regular manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads are not designed to clean around the intricate wires and brackets of fixed braces. To give your teeth the best possible clean during your treatment, invest in an electric toothbrush and a set of orthodontic toothbrush heads, which are designed for cleaning teeth with fixed braces.
3. Use Mouthwash
Brushing and flossing are enough for most people to keep their teeth clean, but when you have braces, it is a good idea to give your dental hygiene a boost by using mouthwash every day. Swishing mouthwash around your teeth and braces helps to dislodge traces of food that have become stuck in hard-to-reach places. As a result, plaque is less likely to build up on the teeth and lead to tooth decay.
4. Have Regular Checkups
When you have braces, it is more important than ever to attend regular checkups with your dentist or orthodontist. These checkups not only give the dentist a chance to check on the progress of your orthodontic treatment but also provide an opportunity to check for signs of tooth decay or gum disease. If you have any pain in your teeth or gums, be sure to let your dentist know so they can diagnose the cause and recommend an appropriate treatment.
5. Change Your Diet
Sugary foods feed oral bacteria, allowing them to multiply in your mouth. To avoid bacterial overgrowth leading to tooth decay, try to limit sugar consumption during your treatment. Sweets or gum with tooth-friendly sweeteners such as xylitol can help to keep sweet cravings at bay.