Life with Braces: Your Complete Guide to Optimal Oral Health Habits

misc image
Getting braces can improve your oral health since properly aligned teeth lower your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. However, keeping up good oral hygiene while you have braces might be a little tricky. We offer some helpful tips here.

Braces are able to correct a wide range of orthodontic issues from crooked teeth to bad bites (malocclusions). When you have these dental problems corrected, it can make your smile look beautiful and limit your risk for oral health issues such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Braces are highly effective at treating tooth misalignment issues, much more so than clear aligners. Thankfully, there are plenty of options in this day and age from traditional metal braces to ones that are clear and a little more subtle. 

When you have braces, you have to take extra care of your teeth to make sure they stay in good shape while they’re being shifted around by all the brackets and wires. 

That’s why our team led by orthodontic specialist Farid Hanachi, DDS, PA, at Hanachi Orthodontics in Mooresville and Gastonia, North Carolina, has put together this guide on how to take care of both your braces and your teeth to make sure both stay in tip-top shape.

Oral hygiene habits to practice while you have braces

Braces are made up of three components: brackets, bands, and wires. The brackets are attached directly to your teeth and the wire is threaded through the brackets. The bands — also known as ligatures — are then placed over the wire to keep it in place. Constant pressure from the braces is what moves your teeth to their new desired position. 

However, having all these appliances covering your teeth makes it easy for leftover food and plaque to start to build up, increasing your risk of staining, cavities, gingivitis, and tooth decay.

Here are some general guidelines for good oral hygiene while you have braces:

  • Brush at least three times a day, especially after meals
  • Brush at your gum line and underneath the brackets
  • Floss at least once daily
  • Clean in between brackets with tools like an interdental brush
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash and a tongue scraper
  • Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings

You also need to avoid foods and drinks high in sugar since this can expedite the buildup of plaque and tartar.

Take extra care of your braces

Braces are fairly durable; however, you want to take some precautions with what you eat since certain foods can be damaging to your braces (and your teeth).

When you first get braces, you want to only eat soft foods so your mouth can get used to them. Here are some suggestions on easy-to-eat foods:

  • Yogurt
  • Pasta
  • Cooked or mashed fruits and vegetables
  • Scrambled eggs

After your tooth sensitivity has died down, you’ll still want to avoid these foods that can cause serious damage to braces:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Hard candy
  • Ice
  • Whole fruits like apples
  • Corn on the cob
  • Ribs

Any hard foods you eat need to be cut up into small, manageable bites.

Call today

For expert orthodontic care, look no further than our team at Hanachi Orthodontics. We proudly serve the Gastonia and Mooresville, North Carolina, areas. Schedule an appointment by calling our office or booking online.