6 Must-Do’s For Maintaining a Healthy Smile in Braces

Taking care of your teeth while wearing braces

How To Care for Braces (For Teens)

So you’re finally getting your braces fitted! Kudos to you. The start of your orthodontic treatment is an exciting time that puts you one step closer to achieving your perfect smile. Before you get there, though, there are a couple of things our team at Must Love Kids would like you to know about caring for your braces. We hope you’ll try your best to follow these tips so you can enjoy both straight teeth and a healthy smile at the end of your treatment.

Clean your braces regularly.

Take a look in the mirror at your new braces. See how shiny and clean they look? Ideally, that’s how they should look throughout the teeth-straightening process. Since the brackets and wires have nooks and crannies that can trap food and plaque, you need to be consistent now more than ever in your oral care routine. Angle your brush so the bristles can reach under the wires and gently clean around those brackets and wires to dislodge any food and ensure plaque doesn’t build up.

Up your flossing game.

Yes, you can and should floss when wearing braces! Flossing with them can be tricky, but it’s really important if you want to end up with straight and healthy teeth. You can always use traditional floss with your braces, but a little extra help from a floss threader will make things much easier. 

Simply stick the floss through the threader, then thread the floss around the wires of your braces so you can floss between your teeth. Repeat the process for each tooth. If you need some help, ask your dentist or hygienist to show you how during your next dental appointment.

Get on a braces-friendly diet.

When choosing what goes into your mouth, remember that your diet should keep your teeth healthy while being kind to your braces. Even without braces, starchy and acidic foods typically increase your chance of tooth decay when consumed often. So while you’re in braces, try to limit your intake of such foods. You also want to avoid sticky, chewy, or hard foods like taffy, popcorn, or hard candy. 

These foods may cause the brackets of your braces to pop off and cause you to come see us more often to fix them. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat anything just because you’re having orthodontic treatment. You can still enjoy soft, healthy, yummy foods like scrambled eggs, oats, chicken, and pancakes.

Beware of rinsing with some types of mouthwash.

When it comes to finding the best mouthwash for braces, all rinses are not created equally. In fact, mouthwashes containing an ingredient called chlorhexidine can potentially stain your braces and teeth! Go for a clear rinse that has fluoride as an active ingredient instead. This can help limit tooth decalcification, which is the cause of white spots under brackets. 

What’s more, fluoride will remineralize and strengthen tooth enamel, lowering your risk of developing cavities. If you’re not sure which mouthwash to use, your dentist can provide some helpful recommendations.

Be careful when playing sports.

Injuries to the mouth and jaw aren’t uncommon for athletes. In fact, this is one of the most common sports-related injuries for both teens and adults. That’s why it’s super important to protect your teeth and gums when you’re a sports player with braces. Orthodontic appliances can cause further oral injury when hit by a ball or another player. 

Playing sports with braces and no protection may not put your life in danger in itself, but mouth injuries can be very painful and cause serious damage. The absolute best option to protect your teeth and gums while participating in physical activities is to wear a custom-made mouth guard from your dentist.

See your dentist for checkups.

Braces require a very strict and regular oral routine. Be sure to listen carefully to your orthodontic provider’s instructions. It’s also a good idea to request a written list of instructions and ask any questions you may have regarding the best way to care for your braces. Even if you slip up a bit, your dentist will be able to tell right away and help you get back on the right track. 

That’s why it’s important to book cleaning appointments at our Vancouver, Washington, office every six months in addition to your orthodontic appointments. Through professional dental cleanings and topically applied fluoride treatments, you can give your teeth extra protection and strengthen your enamel. By the end of your orthodontic treatment, you’ll not only have a beautiful smile but also a healthy one.