How to care for your teeth and fixed braces.
The importance of looking after your teeth and braces:
Everyone’s saliva contains millions of bacteria. These bacteria stick to the surfaces of teeth and quickly multiply to form a layer called plaque.
Plaque is a soft, colourless substance which is difficult to see until the coating is quite thick. It collects on the surfaces of teeth, mainly next to the gums and between the teeth. Plaque causes dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal disease (gum disease).
Back to Orthodontics
Do I need to clean my teeth?
YES! Orthodontic treatment will not normally begin unless you clean your teeth properly.
In fixed orthodontic appliance treatment, the brackets are more difficult to clean; therefore, it is extremely important to care for your fixed brace by carefully brushing it and having a sensible diet.
Caring for your fixed braces
To facilitate the cleaning of your teeth and gums, use a small-headed toothbrush. Manual or electric, but always use ‘bottle’ brushes (Tepes) to clean the underwire.
- Rinse thoroughly with mouthwash.
- Start at the top between the wire and gums. Press firmly enough so that the bristles spread into the gaps between the teeth. Move the brush head thoroughly but gently around all the teeth. Repeat the same process on the other side of the wire.
- Now clean all the inside surfaces (tongue side) of the teeth in the same way.
- Last of all, clean the tops of the teeth under the wire with the bottle brush.
Eating and drinking
Eat sensibly when wearing a brace. Avoid hard or sticky food such as:
- Chewing Gum.
- Hard Mints.
- Hard Crusts.
- Whole Carrots.
- Biting into apples.
These may break and bend the wires, and this will slow down treatment and will delay it by an average of 2 months.
Also, avoid the following:
- Fizzy Drinks.
- Acidic Drinks.
- Sugary Drinks.
- Fruit Juices.
They can dissolve surface enamel. This will cause permanent damage to teeth.
What will happen if I don’t brush properly?
Permanent damage to the tooth enamel can occur if the teeth and brackets are not kept clean. The enamel will decalcify, leaving unsightly white marks.
- Brush thoroughly but gently after every meal, even snacks with fluoride toothpaste.
- Take your toothbrush to school, college, university or workplace if needed.
- Rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash twice a day.
- See the hygienist regularly.