Exploring Oral Health Symptoms, Issues and Solutions

Simple But Important Tips for Taking Care of Braces

When you have braces in your mouthj, you still need to be mindful of your oral hygiene, even if it's somewhat challenging to brush and floss around the braces and retainers. Food can now get caught between the wires and brackets of the braces. In turn, your mouth can hold more bacteria, and your teeth prone to more damage due to food buildup if you have braces but don't care for your mouth properly. Note a few simple-but-important tips for taking care of braces and keeping your mouth healthy.

1. Use your Christmas tree

The term "Christmas tree" is often used to describe a special brush you may get from your orthodontist when you get braces. It's narrow at the top and then slopes down to a wider base, like a Christmas tree. This brush is meant to be gently guided through your braces, from bottom to top and then top to bottom, to get any pieces of food and anything else you've missed with your regular brushing. If you misplace this brush, get a replacement, as standard brushing with a toothbrush is usually not enough to keep your teeth and braces clean.

2. Eat with your braces in mind

While you may not like the idea of having to watch what you eat when you have braces, you need to remember that hard foods can crack or snap the wires that hold the brackets together and in place. This might include hard candies, hard vegetables such as carrots, foods that are hard to bite such as apples, and chewy foods that might get caught on the wires. Avoid taffy, caramel, and even chewing gum when you have braces. If you're in doubt about what you're eating, cut the food into small pieces so you avoid putting pressure on the braces when you bite down or chew and chew very gently and slowly. If there's any resistance to your chewing from your food, it may be too hard for your braces and you might consider eating something else.

3. Disinfect your retainer

You will need to brush your retainer, but you should also disinfect it as well. Use a denture-soaking solution or cleanser, and keep your retainer in this overnight. Your dentist will tell you how often you should do this; usually it's every day, but typically it should be done at least every week. By disinfecting your retainer, you'll be removing any residual germs and bacteria that would then otherwise be transferred to your teeth and mouth and increase your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and the like.