How many times have you gone to the dentist dreading that one question hygienists always ask? You hope they’ll forget, but they never do.
“How often do you floss?” Or sometimes they say something like, “How is your flossing going?”
You almost always find yourself embellishing your dental hygiene practices, as if you’re trying to cover up some kind of crime.
You have good intentions. You leave the dentist’s chair with squeaky-clean teeth and vow to floss daily. But somehow, after a few days, your flossing becomes sporadic.
When you have braces, you dread that question even more. A task that most fail to accomplish without metal wires connecting their teeth suddenly becomes extra challenging.
The risk of gingivitis, tartar and demineralization – which causes tooth decay – increases in individuals with braces because it’s harder to clean gums and teeth.
In severe cases of gingivitis, orthodontists sometimes have to remove a patient’s braces and wait for the gums to heal before putting them back on – a process that can prolong the length of treatment.
That’s why every brace-wearer should make New Year’s resolutions to keep their teeth healthy.
Resolution #1: Floss Daily
Of course, individuals with braces can’t just run floss through their teeth like people without braces. However, traditional floss isn’t the only option. Water flossers, for example, use a stream of water to clean between teeth. Floss threaders are also effective tools. Patients can use them to easily pull floss under brace wires and between teeth.
Resolution #2: Brush After Every Meal
Because food tends to stick in brackets, it is important to brush after every meal. Bring a toothbrush to school or work. It might not be glamorous, but it will keep your teeth healthy during your treatment. Using an electric toothbrush designed for cleaning braces instead of a conventional toothbrush will also ensure you thoroughly clean all areas of your mouth and teeth.
Resolution #3: Use Fluoride Toothpaste or a Fluoride Rinse
The average person wears braces for approximately two years. That’s a long time to have
something covering part of your teeth. Using a fluoride Toothpaste or rinse prevents tooth decay and decalcification. It also decreases the chance that stains will form on the parts of your teeth that aren’t covered by your braces.
Resolution #4: Avoid Certain Foods
In one of our previous blog posts, we covered holiday treats that are on the naughty list. The same rules generally apply throughout the year. Avoid hard, chewy and sticky foods that can damage your braces. It’s also important to avoid sugary snacks. Foods that are high in sugar stick to your teeth, brackets and wires, causing plaque buildup and tooth decay.
If you make and stick to these four resolutions, you’ll have a happy, healthy mouth throughout your orthodontic treatment. For more tips on caring for your teeth with braces, contact OrthoArts.