Oral Hygiene with Braces: Do’s and Don’ts
The mouth is the gateway to the body… good health begins with good teeth. Tooth decay, infection and/or gum disease can lead to a variety of ailments and just generally ‘feeling bad.’ Here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts for keeping your oral hygiene the best it can be:
Oral Hygiene Do’s
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleaning.
- Visit an orthodontist for an evaluation if you see any of the early warning signs of orthodontic problems.
- Have your child(ren) evaluated by an orthodontist by age seven. Many orthodontic problems can be more easily corrected before tooth and facial growth is complete.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss between your teeth at least once a day, after dinner and before bedtime. (Tip: Use toothpaste on your floss for extra fresh breath.)
- Rinse and gargle with the mouthwash, ideally right before bedtime.
- Eat a balanced diet, limit between-meal snacks and eliminate sugary foods.
- Clean your tongue when your brush your teeth. (Tip: Instead of using toothpaste to brush your tongue, dip your toothbrush in mouthwash.)
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially water to keep your mouth moist. (Tip: If your mouth is dry, try sucking in your cheeks as if eating something sour to increase flow from the salivary glands.)
Oral Hygiene Don’ts
- Don’t forget to clean behind your back teeth.
- Don’t give mouthwash or fluoride toothpaste to young children, as they can swallow it.
- Don’t clean your tongue so hard that it hurts.
- Don’t rely on mouthwash alone too keep your teeth and gums clean and your breath fresh. Practice complete oral hygiene.
- Don’t ignore your gums – you can lose your teeth as well as have bad breath. Don’t drink too much coffee.
- Don’t smoke.
For those wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances, keeping teeth and gums clean may be a bit more difficult, but the resulting smile will be worth the effort. If you wear braces…
- Brush after every meal. If you can’t brush right away, rinse your mouth (and removable appliance) with water.
- Floss every day. Your orthodontist can give you a floss threader if you’re having difficulties.
- Chew only sugarless gum.
- Call your orthodontist if anything is loose or broken.
- Don’t miss your orthodontic appointments. Missed or delayed appointments
- mean you’ll have to wear your braces longer.
- Don’t eat hard, sticky or chewy foods, crunchy foods.
- Don’t chew on pens, pencils, ice, fingernails or anything that might break your braces.
Shiny clean teeth and fresh breath are good reasons for practicing good oral hygiene, but the most important reason is that keeping your gums and teeth clean and healthy will help you keep your teeth throughout your life. Although some diseases and conditions can make dental disease and tooth loss more likely, most of us have a great deal of control over whether we keep our teeth into old age. Wouldn’t you rather be chewing with your own natural teeth?
SmileMaker Orthodontics, Dr. Jay Burton, a member of the American Association of Orthodontists and board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. He takes great pride in helping people achieve a beautiful smile in Hendersonville, Madison, Goodlettsville and Nashville, TN. You can contact our office at (615) 865-6551 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.