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Orthodontic Care

Do I Need To Brush More Often If I have Braces

When you are wearing braces, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your tooth brush is not able to reach. Dr. West and his staff can and will show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are place.

Care of Your Teeth When Wearing Braces

Poor oral hygiene will negatively affect your orthodontic treatment. Inadequate cleaning of your teeth can cause demineralization of your teeth and when braces are removed you may find chalky white stains on the tooth enamel – this can be irreversible and disfiguring to your smile. You will be shown the proper care of your braces when your orthodontic treatment begins. It's important to clean your mouth every time you eat. Teeth with braces are harder to clean, and trap food very easily. If food is left lodged in the brackets and wires, it can cause unsightly etching of the enamel on your teeth. Your most important job is to keep your mouth clean. For our patients who have braces during the years they are in school we realize they may not be able to brush after lunch, for these student we recommend they rinse their mouth vigorously with water and simply swallow the water.

  • You should brush your teeth after meals. Patients who attend school should rinse their mouth vigorously with water and simply swallow the water.
  • It is recommended that patients floss after each meal. You will be given instructions on how to perform this task and given a special tool to help you complete this task when you get your braces.
  • Use a tooth paste that contains fluoride, Dr. West will also provide an additional tooth paste to be used at night.
  • Use a non alcoholic mouth rinse which contains fluoride daily.
  • During treatment, avoid foods with a lot of sugar, sticky and chewy foods, hard foods, and foods that can get stuck in your braces.
  • Maintain routine oral health/oral cancer screenings – it may be recommended that these visits occur more frequently than every six months. For those patients who also receive their routine oral health/oral cancer screenings in Dr. West’s office, these visits will be coordinated with your orthodontic visit.

Note: If your gums bleed when brushing, do not avoid brushing, but rather continue stimulating the area with the toothbrush bristles. Be sure to angle your toothbrush so that you clean both above and below the arch wire and around the brackets. After three to four (3-4) days of proper brushing, the bleeding should stop and your gums should be healthy again.

Brushing with Braces will require a little more time:

  • Brush back and forth above the arch wire and then below the arch wire in both the upper and lower arch.
  • Next brush 2-3 teeth at a time in a circular motion with the bristles at a 45 degree angle toward the gum, as if you did not have braces.
  • Be sure and brush the tongue and chewing surfaces of the teeth.

Elastics Care

Wear your elastics exactly how and as often as Dr. West instructs you. If elastics - called rubber bands - are worn intermittently, they will continually cause more soreness. Sore teeth between appointments usually indicate improper wear of headgear or elastics, or signals inadequate hygiene. Take your elastics off when you brush your teeth and place fresh elastics.

Proper Diet

Avoid Sticky Foods Such as:

  • Caramel
  • Candy bars with caramel
  • Candied or caramel apples
  • Fruit Roll-ups
  • Gum
  • Gummy Bears
  • Starburst
  • Skittles
  • Toffee

Avoid Hard or Tough Foods such as:

  • Bagels
  • Hard candy
  • Ice Cubes
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Nuts
  • Pizza crust
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Popsicles

Cut the following foods Into smaller pieces:

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