Caring for Your Smile When You Have Braces
Good oral hygiene is important, especially if you have braces. Here's what happens if you don't brush and floss carefully, you may break the wires or more importantly, you could be at risk of decay on your front teeth. Adelaide dentists, Dr. Jack Gaffey and Dr. Angela Gaffey care for your family's smiles. That's why they help their patients avoid tooth decay through regular dental cleaning and thorough check-ups.
"Will my brushing and flossing take longer?"
Maneuvering your brush around wires and brackets can time to your usual routine, however leaving food and plaque behind will add time to your orthodontic treatment. When you don't brush thoroughly plaque builds up around your brackets, it then begins to leave white or brown marks. Eventually, tooth decay occurs in these areas. Haphazard brushing may also leave pieces of food behind. Sugars in your foods combine with the bacteria that make up plaque. The bacteria produce acids that will attack and weaken your tooth enamel. That's how you get decay.
Flossing is particularly important when you wear braces. 'Bridge floss' has a stiffer end and makes it easier to thread floss past your wires, so you can remove food particles and clean away that nasty plaque.
"How do I brush and floss with braces?"
You'll still hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, but will need to make sure that you use gentle pressure around wires and brush brackets carefully. Electric toothbrushes are the best option for brushing with braces, the brush head is smaller and the vibrations clean the plaque off quicker. If you want the best braces result, buy an electric toothbrush at the same time as the braces go on. You may want to focus on cleaning the top of the brackets and wires first, then focus on the bottom half of the teeth.
Flossing with tape or string floss can be a little difficult when you wear braces. That is why we recommend the bridge floss to get under the brackets. This is available at most chemists or you can always buy some when you have your review appointments here.
What foods should I avoid with braces?
It's pretty simple. Avoid foods that get stuck in your wires, such as popcorn, gum or sticky lollies. Anything super sticky is going to be hard to get rid off from the braces. If you do forget and eat these foods, you will spend a long time trying to clean it off the braces and sometimes you can even break the brackets. We also believe that hard foods should be cut into smaller pieces. Hard foods begin to make cracks in the braces and eventually break the brackets off. Cutting your hard foods in small pieces or cooking them a bit softer allows you to maintain a similar diet to before your braces. Don't do the silly things with your teeth that your mother told you not to. These include opening packages with your teeth or biting your fingernails. Biting silly things that are not food will increase your treatment time because they break both your wires and your teeth.
If you look after your smile with regular dental cleaning, and checkups, you will have the best smile at the end of your braces treatment. Call your Adelaide dentists Drs. Jack and Angela Gaffey at (08) *271-6233 to make your next appointment.