Caring for your Braces
The success of treatment and the time it takes are in your control. As orthodontic treatment requires you to wear various appliances on your teeth, there are certain responsibilities that you must undertake to ensure that your mouth is kept in excellent health and your appliances are not damaged.
- Maintain excellent oral hygiene
- Follow some restrictions in your diet
- Keep all appointments as scheduled
- Wear elastics as instructed
Oral Hygiene: Brushing your teeth
Your aim when brushing your teeth is to remove all plaque and food debris from your teeth and appliances. Plaque is a mixture of thin colourless film of bacteria (germs) and food debris. It will completely cover all surfaces of the teeth within one day of being brushed away. The bacteria feed on sugars and produce acids which attack the tooth enamel and cause decay. The bacteria also irritate the gums around the teeth causing gingivitis (gum disease).
Gingivitis symptoms include puffy, swollen, shiny red gums that bleed easily when touched or brushed. Gentle meticulous brushing along the gum line should improve this condition.
REMEMBER, your braces will trap the food and plaque easily increasing the chance of tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath (halitosis).
Brushing should be done at least twice a day, morning and night. Ideally, brushing after all meals will keep your mouth healthier.
Plaque and food debris are soft, so gentle brushing with a small, soft bristled toothbrush is required. Orthodontic toothbrushes are available which are shaped to clean around the braces and wire. Powered brushes are also suitable to use.
Use a toothpaste containing fluoride which will strengthen the enamel.
Always follow a pattern when brushing to ensure all surfaces are cleaned. If brushing carefully and correctly it should take approximately 3 – 4 minutes.
Your toothbrush may need changing more often than before.
Small interproximal (Christmas tree) brushes can be used in between teeth under the wire in those hard to reach spots.
Flossing can be achieved using superfloss or floss threaders.
Our staff will offer advice and instruction in oral hygiene if needed, please don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Food and drinks to avoid
Some foods must be avoided due to their decay risk and to prevent breaking your appliances.
- Sticky, sweet sugary foods must be limited in frequency or avoided completely.
- Soft drinks, sugary drinks (flavoured milks or cordial) and acidic drinks (orange juice) should be restricted to occasional meal times.
- Some foods which are very hard or chewy can be avoided or simply cut into smaller pieces to prevent breakage.
- We will offer you a list of alternative food choices when your braces are fitted.
You must continue to have your teeth checked regularly by your general dentist during orthodontic treatment.