How can I care for my teeth if I wear braces or a retainer?
Having braces or a retainer can be intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right knowledge and the proper care routine, taking care of your teeth with braces or a retainer can be easy and hassle-free. Understanding how to properly take care of your teeth in this situation is key to avoiding any complications and achieving the best results from your orthodontic treatment.
Ways to Take Care of Your Teeth While Wearing Braces or a Retainer
If you have just been fitted with braces or a retainer, congratulations! You are now well on your way to having the perfect smile. Taking care of your teeth while wearing braces or a retainer is essential for maintaining good oral health and achieving the best results from your orthodontic treatment. This article will provide tips on taking care of your teeth while wearing braces or a retainer.
Way 1. Brushing & Flossing
Though brushing and flossing may not seem like novel concepts, it is even more important when wearing braces or a retainer. Cleaning around wires and brackets can be difficult, so extra care should be taken when brushing and flossing with braces or a retainer.
When brushing with braces or a retainer, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Angle the brush towards the gum line at a 45-degree angle to remove plaque and debris between the teeth, wires, and brackets. It is also important to take your time when brushing to make sure that you are thoroughly cleaning all surfaces of the teeth.
Flossing with braces or a retainer can be difficult, but it is important for maintaining good oral health. If flossing normally seems too difficult, consider using a floss threader or proxy brush to help guide the floss between your teeth, wires, and brackets. Make sure to be gentle when flossing so as not to damage the wires or brackets.
Way 2. Rinse & Chemical Plaque Removers
Using an antibacterial mouthwash can help kill bacteria in hard-to-reach areas, as can chemical plaque removers that are specifically designed for use with braces or retainers. These products can be found in most drugstores and can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy while wearing braces or a retainer.
Way 3. Eating Habits
It is important to pay attention to what you eat when wearing braces or a retainer, as there are certain foods you should avoid in order to protect the wires and brackets from damage. Foods such as popcorn, nuts, hard candy, gum, and ice should all be avoided so as not to damage the appliance or cause any discomfort. Additionally, it is best to cut hard fruits and vegetables into smaller pieces before eating them so they don’t damage the wires or brackets.
Way 4. Sugar & Carbs
Limiting sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods is also important, as they can cause cavities when not properly removed from around the appliance. Eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy will help ensure that your teeth are getting the proper nutrition while wearing braces or a retainer.
Way 5. Beverages & Alcohol
When it comes to beverages, it is best to avoid sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks as they are high in sugar and can cause staining on the teeth if consumed over extended periods of time. In addition, alcoholic beverages should be limited as well so as not to damage the appliance, as well as to avoid the risk of dehydration or headache.
Way 6. Avoid Chewing on Hard Objects
Chewing on hard objects such as pencils, pens, and fingernails should also be avoided when wearing braces or a retainer to protect the wires and brackets from damage. Doing so could cause them to break or come loose, leading to extra trips to the orthodontist for repair.
Taking care of your teeth while wearing braces or a retainer can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. With proper dental hygiene techniques and mindful eating habits, you can ensure that your teeth remain healthy and that your orthodontic appliance remains in good condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: You should brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and floss at least once daily.
Answer: Hard foods such as popcorn, nuts, and candy should be avoided when wearing an orthodontic appliance. It is best to cut hard fruits and vegetables into smaller pieces before eating them so they don’t damage the wires or brackets.
Answer: An antibacterial mouthwash is best when wearing an orthodontic appliance as it can help kill germs in hard-to-reach areas. Chemical plaque removers specifically designed for braces or retainers can also be found in most drugstores and help keep your teeth and gums healthy while wearing braces or a retainer.