Dental Hygiene and Wearing Braces

Braces are designed to improve your oral health, however if you do not take the necessary precautions you may actually find that your teeth end up in a worse state than when you started wearing braces. If you do not take care of your braces properly, then food could become trapped in them and slowly rot away, causing bad breath. Bacteria and plaque could also build up, causing tooth decay and gum disease. Permanent discolouration of your teeth may also occur.

Basic tips

When you first start to wear braces, you may need to reconsider what you eat and drink. Very hard foods or crunchy foods are not recommended, as these can snap or break the wires on your brace. Not only will this affect the way that your brace works, but it can also put the inside of your mouth at risk from sharp cuts and scratches. You should also avoid very sticky or chewy foods, such as toffees or chewing gum. These are very sugary and will be very hard to clean off of your braces.

Whatever you decide to eat, you should always make sure that you check for trapped bits of food afterwards. This is much easier if you have a removable brace. However, you should leave it for at least an hour after you eat before you brush your teeth.

Braces, your Dentist and You

The best way to look after your oral health when you have braces can actually depend on what type of braces that you have. Braces tend to fall into two main categories: fixed and removable. It is much easier to care for your teeth when you have a removable brace, however it is still possible to keep your teeth in good condition when you have a fixed brace.

If your dentist wants to put a fixed brace in for you, ask them to show you the best way to care for your teeth, as they will be able to identify possible problem areas for you to pay particular attention to. They may also be able to provide you with interdental brushes to clean around the braces, as well as disclosing tablets, which will show any plaque build ups.

How to clean removable braces

Removable braces are braces which can be taken out completely and put back in again without the need for professional help. It is best to take your brace out completely so that you can clean it.

Use toothpaste and a spare toothbrush to gently scrub the brace. Do this over a sinkful of water, so that you don’t flick toothpaste everywhere and so that you will not damage your brace if you accidentally drop it. After you have finished cleaning the brace, rinse in clean water. Your dentist will advise you about whether you need to wear your brace to sleep in or not. It is advisable that you use a different toothbrush to clean your brace with than the one that you use to clean your teeth.

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