Combine lights, firecrackers, presents, and of course sweets/other treats and what does it represent? Diwali of course. Regardless of its origin and local interpretations, Diwali is a day of fun, festivities and joy for people of all ages. Everywhere, it signifies the renewal of life and heralds the approach of winter.
So with all the tempting treats during this festive season it was time to remind readers about maintaining healthy smiles. We know having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. Preventing tooth decay can be a big challenge simply because of the tendency for braces to trap food under the wires and between the teeth and the brackets. Here are a few tips to keep your teeth healthy while wearing your braces:
1. Eat Braces-Safe Foods
Keeping your teeth from decay starts with a proper diet. Foods that are high in sugar or starch can cause more plaque, which is difficult to remove during your brushing. There are certain foods that should be avoided while wearing your braces. First, sticky foods like caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and can be difficult to remove during brushing. Next, hard foods such as nuts and candy could bend wires or even break a bracket. Foods that are firm or hard to bite into like apples, carrots, or corn on the cob should be avoided. As much as we like to snack on them, those crunchy treats can harm your braces. Things like chips, ice, popcorn can also bend or break your braces.
On the other hand, bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta all tend to be low in enamel-busting acids. Try to choose treats with soft and low sugar.
2. Proper Brushing
You want to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride paste for best results. Rinsing every day will help, too. Rinsing is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can’t always reach.
When you have braces it’s very important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment. If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and your braces.
Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Permanent marks on the teeth are a direct result of plaque accumulation on and around the braces that allow cavities to start developing. These white areas are called decalcification and if aggressive enough, can lead to the need for restorative treatment. Fortunately, this can be prevented with meticulous cleaning habits. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist or gum specialist during orthodontic treatment.
3. Ask About Special Cleaning Tools
There are also special brushes, or other tools, to get under and clean your braces. If you are interested in these tools, let us know and we can steer you in the right direction.
4. Regular Teeth Cleaning
Every patient should see their family dentist for their regular cleanings and checkups throughout orthodontic treatment.
We cannot stress this enough. It’s important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.
As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth from decaying while you wear braces.
To be successful with your treatment plan, patients must work together with their orthodontist. Braces are not something we do “to” you; they are something we do “with” you. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if patients consistently follow directions with appliances, elastics and cleaning as prescribed. Damaged appliances will lengthen the treatment time.
For more detailed information regarding braces, Dr. Sharma, and Aura Orthodontics visit www.auraortho.com.
On behalf of the team at Aura Orthodontics – have a safe and happy Diwali.