Let’s face it – wearing braces is tough. If you didn’t like to floss or brush when you didn’t have braces, it’s going to be even tougher with braces. But as we’ve mentioned before about flossing and brushing, it is important to your oral hygiene. We’re going to emphasize again that without proper oral hygiene habits, you risk tooth decay which can impact your oral health in the future. In the short term, your teeth might be a mix of yellow and white, especially when your braces come off!
Learn Proper Brushing Techniques
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste for best results. Using an oral rinse every day will help, too. Rinsing with mouthwash is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces, as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can’t always reach.
Brush after Every Meal
Since braces block food from naturally escaping your teeth after eating, it’s important that you take the time to brush and floss after every meal. The less time food has to sit on your teeth, the less likely it is to cause decay. This may seem like an inconvenience, but when you get your braces off, you will be very glad you brushed after every meal.
Eat Braces-Safe Foods
When you have braces, there are certain foods that you must avoid (read our post here). For starters, sticky foods such as caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and are difficult to remove during brushing. Avoid hard foods, too, such as nuts and candy. Those goodies can bend wires or even break a bracket. And while you may love apples, carrots, or corn on the cob, they’re too firm or hard to bite into and can damage your braces. Crunchy treats can also harm your orthodontic appliances. It’s best to stay away from chips and popcorn, which can damage your braces. So just what can you eat? We recommend soft foods that are low in enamel-busting acids, such as bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta.
Get Regular Checkups
It’s important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist, as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.
As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth healthy while you wear braces.
Whether you are a foodie or just like enjoying the diverse foods we have on the Westcoast, having braces sometimes impacts what you are able to eat. While we know there are people who still eat anything when they have braces, we advise to follow some general guidelines to make your braces treatment process as easy as possible.
First off, always make sure you brush and floss your teeth regularly. The last thing you want is to have your braces taken off but your teeth have numerous cavities. Plaque is never your best friend, so it is important to maintain top oral hygiene. We’ve talked about brushing and flossing before, so feel free to check out those blog posts.
Now in terms of food, the best way to ensure your comfort during orthodontic treatment is to eat a braces-friendly diet. Certain foods are better suited for the purpose, as opposed to hard and sticky foods that can cause damage. So what types of foods should you eat if you have braces?
The best are low in sugar and do not require excessive chewing. For breakfast, try eggs, yogurt, wheat toast, or oatmeal. Lunch may steer toward a banana rather than an apple, a salad without nuts, and string cheese instead of chips.
A healthy dinner might include most types of vegetables, as long as they are cooked to an appropriate softness. Pair that with a lean protein such as fish or chicken, and follow up with dessert. Just be sure to brush afterward!
If you’ve just had your braces tightened, you’re probably feeling a bit of discomfort. That’s completely normal and should disappear in a day or so, but in the meantime, you’ll want to stick to easy-to-chew foods. Some of our favourites include:
- Mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
- Cottage cheese
Foods to Avoid
Anyone who wears braces—whether fixed or removable—should avoid excessive snacking and aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It’s also important to avoid foods that could cause damage to your braces, including:
- Hard candies
Hard, crunchy, or chewy foods can bend wires, or even rip a bracket right off your tooth! Any kind of damage will result in a longer treatment time and additional office visits. You won’t have braces forever, so save the sticky snacking for after they’re removed.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!
Let’s be honest, brushing teeth is no one’s favourite activity, especially when braces are involved. However, oral hygiene is very important to maintain because it can make your health much worse as you get older. We don’t want that to happen to anyone, so we want to share some tips when it comes to brushing your teeth and making sure your teeth actually get clean!
Top mistakes people make when brushing:
- Brush too quickly: Most people have between 24 to 28 teeth in erupted in their mouth. Each tooth has at least three surfaces exposed to be brushed (cheek side, biting side, tongue side), and each surface needs to be brushed at least 6 times. That is between 72 to 84 surfaces, and up to 500 strokes each time you brush your teeth! That is why the Canadian Dental Association recommends spending at least 2 minutes each time you brush your teeth!
- Not brushing around the gum: This area is the most commonly missed area and the result is devastating! The gum does not stick tightly unto the tooth surface; instead, there is a rim of pocket between your gum and your tooth. If you do not aim the brush properly to brush into the gum, you will have gingivitis (bleeding gums), which will turn into periodontitis (bone loss) if it’s left untreated for extended period of time. Eventually, you may have so much bone loss that the tooth just fall out on its own!
- Not brushing your teeth at 45 angle: Angle your toothbrush this way allows you to get the brush bristles in between tooth surfaces, braces, and underneath the gum. Your braces have a lot of tiny crevices to accumulate plaque, so remember to brush thoroughly to get your teeth as clean as possible
- Not brushing the inside portion of your teeth: Just because they can’t be seen by others, doesn’t mean plaque doesn’t live there
- Not changing your toothbrush regularly: Once your toothbrush starts looking like it’s been used too much (the bristles are no longer straight) or it’s been 3 months, it’s time to change your toothbrush. If your toothbrush gets worn out before then, you may be brushing too hard!
- Brushing too hard: You do not need to scrub your teeth like scrubbing a dirty frying pan to clean them. Brushing too hard will not only harm your gum (recessions), but will actually damage your tooth surface also!
There are also electronic toothbrushes available for those who feel like they can’t get a good enough clean with a conventional toothbrush. An electronic toothbrush provides consistent spins of the bristle at a high frequency, hence greatly increase the efficiency of the process of brushing. However, the brush can only cleans where you place it at, so the concept of angling the toothbrush still applies.
When you go for your regular braces appointments, take the opportunity to get a really good clean of your teeth when your wires come off. During this time, it will be the easiest to clean your teeth because you have less obstructions.
A strong daily oral hygiene habits crucial! We know that it can be hard at the beginning, but we can assure you that with some good tips and practice, everybody will be able to master the skills of brushing and flossing, and get your teeth squeaky clean 😀
Oral hygiene is very important in your day-to-day life. After all, no one likes bad breath, rotten teeth, or receding gum lines. Flossing and brushing are key to maintaining a healthy smile.
When you have braces, it is even more important to make sure your oral hygiene habits are up to your dentist’s standards. Plaque, which is basically a mixture of food, bacteria, and bacteria poop, is your enemy. By not removing plaque from your teeth, build-up can result in cavities, gum disease, and may eventually end up losing your tooth!
How well you can maintain your oral hygiene is ultimately based on your dedication. Here are some of the most commonly seen mistakes on flossing that we observed from our patients. If you have any questions about proper techniques, please ask us at your check-up appointments.
Top mistakes people make when flossing:
- Not floss at all: Flossing allows you to clean the areas between teeth and underneath the gum that the toothbrush cannot get to. Without flossing, you are leaving 40% of the tooth surface uncleaned, not a good idea!
- Using the same area of the floss for the whole mouth: Make sure to use a different part of your dental floss when getting in between teeth, otherwise you may be putting plaque from one tooth to another tooth
- Not flossing into the gum: It’s important to wiggle the floss not just in between teeth, but also underneath the teeth (between the teeth and the gums). Your gums need cleaning too. But don’t force the floss in, go as far as it feels natural for you
Some people find flossing difficult, especially when trying to floss the molars or the teeth in the back of your mouth. With braces, flossing does take longer because you have to get underneath the wires. We recommend using a floss threader or superfloss when flossing with braces. Water Pik is a great alternative to flossing if you are having difficulties flossing properly. Water Pik is a device which sends concentrated blasts of water to clean in between your teeth. This is like power washing your teeth. However, it cannot replace good old brushing, and we only recommend using it when you really have difficulty flossing.
Stay tuned for our next post on how to brush your teeth properly!
Myth: Braces are bulky and painful
Fact: With continuous developments in orthodontic technology, the size of braces has been greatly reduced. In addition, the smaller size provides better aesthetics and also makes it easier for patients to keep their teeth clean. The wires that are now used give patients a gentle yet effective treatment experience as well. After an adjustment appointment, braces become more comfortable – just like when you buy a new pair of shoes and you have to break them in!
Myth: Kids should be seen by an orthodontist only after they get all their adult teeth
Fact: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children to have a consultation with a Certified Orthodontist Specialist by the age of seven. Although most children will grow healthily without the need of early orthodontic intervention, some children experience dental problems that should be addressed at an early age, to prevent the situation from getting worse. These problems may not be obvious and will require an assessment to determine the best course of action.
Myth: Braces will ruin my lifestyle and prevent me from doing the things I love
Fact: You can do almost anything during orthodontic treatment – sing, play musical instruments, play sports, etc. You may have to adjust to doing these activities with braces such as wearing a mouth guard when playing a sport, but you will be able to still enjoy these activities.
Since braces have been around so long, people have developed these preconceived ideas on what they think or think they know about braces. Well, we’re here to get at the truths behind those myths.
Myth: I’m too old for braces, they’re only for kids!
Fact: Actually, one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. Age is not a problem as long as your teeth and gums are healthy. There are also various types of orthodontic appliances that are more aesthetically pleasing than traditional metal braces like Invisalign.
Myth: Only metal braces can straighten teeth!
Fact: There are many types of orthodontic appliances that can straighten teeth besides the traditional metal braces, such as ceramic (clear) braces, Invisalign, and lingual braces (braces that are mounted on the back side of the teeth). All these options are available to patients, and we will review which option is best for you.
Myth: I only have a little bit of crowding, but my smile looks fine. I don’t need braces!
Fact: Besides having a beautiful smile, having straight teeth makes it easier for you to keep your teeth clean. When teeth are crowded and overlapped, there are many crevices where food, plaque, and tartar can be trapped. This can lead to more incidences of cavities and periodontal disease if a person’s oral hygiene regiment is not satisfactory. Straight teeth make it easier to floss and brush, thereby reducing the chance of having bad dental problems. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth’s surfaces and cause difficulty in chewing and speaking.
Have more myths or questions about braces? Contact us and we will get those myths busted too!