Oral Hygiene with Braces Mt Airy, MD

Oral hygiene is an essential part of braces care. Keeping your braces clean can prevent staining, gum disease, and tooth decay. We welcome our patients to ask questions about braces care after their treamtent in our Mt Airy, MD office. Braces are a part of our orthodontic services for children at Mt. Airy Children’s Dental Associates. 

Oral Hygiene with Braces in Mt Airy MD

Braces Care

You will be shown the proper care of your braces when your orthodontic treatment begins. Braces are one of the orthodontic services we offer to the Mt Airy area. Proper cleansing of your mouth is necessary every time you eat. Teeth with braces are harder to clean and trap food very easily.

If food is left lodged on the brackets and wires, it can cause unsightly scarring of the enamel on your teeth. Your most important job is to keep your mouth clean. If food is allowed to collect, the symptoms of gum disease will show in your mouth. The gums will swell and bleed, and the pressure from the disease will slow down tooth movement.

BRUSHING: You should brush your teeth 2-3 times per day.

  1. Brush back and forth across……between the wires and gums on the upper and lower to loosen any food particles.
  2. Next, brush correctly as if you had no brackets or appliances on.
  3. Start on the outside of the uppers with the bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gum and scrub with a circular motion two or three teeth at a time using ten strokes, then move on.
  4. Next, do the same on the inner surface of the upper teeth.
  5. Then, go to the lower teeth and repeat steps 1 & 2.

Look in the mirror to see if you have missed any places. Your teeth, brackets, and wires should be free of any food particles and plaque.

Note: If your gums bleed when brushing, do not avoid brushing, but rather continue stimulating the area with the bristles. Be sure to angle your toothbrush so that the area under your gum line is cleaned. After 3 or 4 days of proper brushing, the bleeding should stop, and your gums should be healthy again.

FLOSSING: Use a special floss threader to floss with your braces on. Be sure to floss at least once per day.

FLUORIDE RINSE OR GEL: May be recommended for preventive measures.

Clear Aligners (Invisalign) Care

During Invisalign treatment, be sure to continue brushing at least 2 times a day and flossing daily. Additionally, be sure to follow these steps to ensure your teeth stay healthy throughout treatment:

  • Take your trays out and place them in their case when eating or drinking anything other than water. Beverages can seep under your aligners and become trapped against your teeth, increasing the risk for staining or decay.
  • Before putting the trays back in after eating or drinking, be sure to brush your teeth and rinse with mouth wash.
  • Always clean and rinse your aligners before storing them in their case.
  • Brush the trays whenever you brush your teeth. You can also soak your aligners in Invisalign cleaning crystals once per day, or as needed. Remember, Invisalign trays should always be worn at least 22 hours per day for good results.

Retainer Care

Clean the retainer by brushing it with toothpaste. If you are wearing a lower fixed retainer, be extra careful to brush the wire and the inside of the lower teeth. Always bring your retainer to each appointment. Avoid flipping the retainer with your
tongue, this can cause damage to your teeth. P

lace the retainer in the plastic case when it is removed from your mouth. Never wrap the retainer in a paper napkin or tissue. Someone may throw it away. Don’t put it in your pocket, or you may break or lose it. Excessive heat will warp and ruin the retainer.

Elastics Care

If elastics (rubber bands) are worn intermittently, they will continually “shock” the teeth and cause more soreness. Sore teeth between appointments usually indicate improper wear of headgear or elastics or inadequate hygiene. Wear your elastics correctly, attaching them as you were told. Wear elastics all the time unless otherwise directed. Take your elastics off while brushing. Change elastics as directed, usually once or twice a day.

Proper Diet

Avoid Sticky Foods such as:

  • Caramels
  • Candy bars with caramel
  • Gum
  • Fruit Roll-Ups
  • Candy or caramel apples
  • Skittles
  • Starbursts
  • Toffee
  • Gummy Bears
Avoid Hard or Tough Foods Such as:

  • Pizza Crust
  • Nuts
  • Hard Candy
  • Corn Chips
  • Ice Cubes
  • Bagels
  • Popcorn Kernels
Cut the following foods into small
pieces and chew with the back teeth:

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Pizza
  • Pears
  • Celery
  • Chicken Wings
  • Spare Ribs

Oral Hygiene with Braces FAQs

Learn more about caring for braces with answers to these common questions:

How long should brushing take with braces?

With braces, you should aim to brush your teeth for at least two to three minutes twice a day. Braces create more areas for food and plaque to hide. As a result, it’s crucial to take your time to clean your teeth thoroughly and around the braces. You also will want to brush after meals to dislodge any food particles caught in your braces.

Can you brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush with braces?

Yes. You can brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush while wearing braces; it is safe and beneficial. Electric toothbrushes provide more efficient coverage than manual brushes, especially around brackets and wires. Additionally, since electric toothbrushes require less manual movement from the user, they can help reduce the risk of injury that comes with brushing too hard when wearing braces. Make sure to use an appropriate brush head size for the best results!

How do you clean food out of braces?

When you have braces, clearing out food particles that may get in between them is important. Start by rinsing with water, which can dislodge some loose food. Then, brush carefully with a soft-bristle toothbrush, paying special attention to the areas around your brackets and wires. A floss threader or water flosser can be quite useful for spaces that are hard to reach with a regular toothbrush. An interdental brush can also be effective for stubborn particles. Regularly following these steps helps maintain the effectiveness of your braces.

What foods can’t you have with braces?

If you have braces, you’ll want to avoid certain foods that can damage your orthodontic appliances. Avoid hard foods like popcorn, nuts, and hard candies. These foods can break brackets and bend wires. Additionally, sticky foods such as caramel or gum can stick between your braces and are difficult to clean. Extremely chewy foods like bagels or thick-crusted pizza can also cause problems. Finally, avoid biting directly into hard fruits like apples, and cut them into smaller pieces.

Can brushing too hard break braces?

Brushing too hard may not necessarily break your braces, but doing so can cause damage. You could snap a wire or loosen a bracket if you brush too hard. This will disrupt your orthodontic treatment and could lead to discomfort and extra dental visits for repairs. It’s important to brush gently and use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Remember, the goal is to clean your teeth and braces without applying excessive force.

Do braces make my teeth yellow?

Braces themselves don’t make your teeth yellow. However, maintaining good oral hygiene can be more challenging when wearing braces. If plaque builds up on your teeth and around your braces, it can lead to discoloration or cavities. That’s why brushing thoroughly and regularly with braces is so important. Also, certain foods and drinks like coffee, tea, or soda can stain your teeth.