Tips To Stay Cavity-Free While Wearing Braces

The addition of wires, springs and rubber bands makes it much easier for food to get stuck between the teeth as well as under and around the extra appliance materials. If all food particles aren't removed, bacteria will thrive in that environment and plaque will build up. (P.S. It's also very unattractive to have food stuck in your braces.)

1. Brush after every meal and snack. More frequent brushing and flossing will be necessary while you wear braces - brush with fluoride toothpaste every time you eat anything, especially sweet snacks. When choosing a fluoride tooth paste it's a good idea to use one that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Look for the ADA Seal on the toothpaste container. Use a soft toothbrush to avoid damaging or loosening the brace brackets. The us of proxabrushes (interdental brushes) are recommended since it is easily portable and effective to use between meals and snacks. When brushing, it is important to brush with an up and down motion (rather than side to side) on both the inside and outside of your teeth. If food particles remain stuck under or around the wires and brackets, you'll need to gently loosen them with a tooth pick or rubber gum stimulator. Be careful not to press too hard on your tooth appliances.

2. Floss frequently and carefully. You'll have to adapt your flossing technique to accommodate the braces. To floss at the gum line, slip the end of the floss between your teeth above the brackets that attach to the main wire. Pull the end around the back of the tooth and rub it gently back and forth across the edges of the teeth on either side (similar to buffing the toe of your shoe). Avoid the wires and connections on your braces so they aren't accidentally loosened or pulled off. The use of floss threaders (bridge floss) will aid in getting around and in betweeen brackets. Your orthodontist will be able to help you if you have a problem flossing around the appliances in your mouth.

3. Add a fluoride mouthwash to your oral care routine. Some orthodontists also recommend using a fluoride mouthwash to ensure you reach all the small spaces that the toothbrush may have missed.

Avoid candy and sticky foods. One final tip on staying cavity-free while you wear braces: stay away from foods that are the worst at promoting tooth decay, such as hard candy, and chewy or sticky foods like chewing gum, caramel, and taffy. Stay away from sugary drinks like soda pop, lemonade and Kool-Aid.

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