For some of us, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy smile, even without wearing metal braces. Here are our top tips for maintaining a healthy, clean smile during treatment.
- Avoid sugary and sticky foods. It’s no secret that foods high in sugar and acid can damage your teeth and increase plaque. You will often hear your orthodontist remind you to steer clear of nuts, apples and other hard foods to avoid damaging your braces. Sticking to a low sugar diet with soft and healthy foods is the first step in maintaining a healthy smile whilst you or your child has braces.
- Brush regularly. We recommend brushing for three minutes, three times per day. However, with braces we also recommend you brush each time you eat to avoid a build-up of food and plaque around your teeth and gums. It may seem extreme, however it is very important during treatment as braces can often get in the way of giving your teeth a thorough clean.
- Try disclosing tablets. Ask your orthodontist for these. They are chewable tablets which turn plaque deposits to pink to help you see where plaque has built up around your teeth. This makes it easier to concentrate on the parts of your mouth that need extra attention.
- Healthy toothbrush, healthy smile. Normally we would advise changing your soft bristled toothbrush every three months. However, the bristles may wear down quicker with braces making your toothbrush less effective in cleaning your teeth and gums. We recommend changing your toothbrush every other month or more frequently if needed.
- Don’t forget to floss. This can be difficult with braces. However, where possible it is important to clean between your teeth to avoid cavities and gum disease. Often patients forget to floss as they believe it is impossible. We are here to tell you it is possible, a bit tricky but totally worth it.
- Try rinsing. If you are at a restaurant or a friend’s house and your toothbrush or floss are nowhere in sight – try rinsing you mouth with water. This will help rinse away any bits of food stuck in your braces. It will also help neutralise some of the sugar and acid in your mouth after a meal. Just don’t forget to brush the moment you get home as this will not be enough to keep your smile clean.
- Visit your dentist. Above all, please remember that it is important to visit your dentist twice a year for regular check-ups and a professional clean. Your dentist will work with your orthodontist to ensure that by the end of your treatment you will be left with not only a beautiful smile, but a healthy one.
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