One of our specialties at Williams & Hamman Orthodontics is walking our patients through each phase of their treatment. People often have questions or concerns about how to manage braces, especially their daily wear and care. It’s quite an adjustment at first, but thanks to our team of professionals you’ll feel confident and ready to keep your teeth in pristine condition!
Use the Right Toothpaste and Mouthwash
When it comes to keeping your smile in the best condition, you need the best tools and treatments for the job! It can be confusing to know which items to buy considering just how many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash are out there, all of them claiming that they offer the special secret to healthy teeth. Here are our thoughts:
Whitening is Not the Way
While you are anticipating your straight teeth that are soon to come, it can be tempting to jump the gun and start other cosmetic treatments like whitening your teeth. Sorry to slow you down, but whitening is not the best idea when you still have braces on your teeth. Avoid whitening toothpaste and treatments that can cause discoloration from the areas where your brackets were fixed to your teeth. In a few more months you can plan for your straight and dazzling white teeth!
Some teeth cleaning products contain acids which is a bad idea when you have braces. Acids can erode ceramic if you wear clear braces, and they can even cause rusting on metal braces! Keep your braces safe and avoid acids when you can!
Say Yes to Fluoride
One substance you can feel good about adding to your oral health routine is fluoride. This mineral is one of the substances that make up your tooth enamel and can often be a good boost when added to oral health products. Many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash have fluoride added, so be sure to pick one of those options when you are at the store.
Keep Up with Brushing and Flossing
For some people, keeping up with their daily brushing and flossing is a breeze; a habit picked up from childhood that they continue with no problem at all. Others struggle to maintain consistency and commitment to their daily cleaning routine, and to those people, we want to offer some encouragement and warning.
Not brushing and flossing when you have braces can create a higher risk of health problems than during your normal life. The brackets and wires tend to trap more plaque and debris that can easily grow into tartar, eating away at your tooth enamel and causing tooth decay and cavities over time. When you brush twice every day, and floss once a day, you are doing the most basic task to keep plaque at bay and keep your teeth in great shape for the rest of your life.
When it comes to brushing and flossing with braces, there are a few special features that can make it tricky. Don’t worry, you will have all the expert technicians in our office to help you, show you how, and encourage you when you struggle. Here are a few of the items that can be helpful to keep you going:
This handy little brush is the perfect size and shape to fit in between wires and brackets to give a good scrub to those hard-to-reach areas. Use one at night and in the morning if you wish, and throw one in your lunchbox or bag so that you can get gunk out after your lunch while you’re out and about. They not only help to keep your smile extra clean but are also great for dislodging food that gets stuck during normal eating and meals!
Floss Threader & Waxed Floss
A floss threader is another nifty object that you can use to pull floss through the wires of your braces in order to floss your teeth. Pairing a threader with waxed floss will make the whole process much easier. With a little practice, you’ll soon be easily threading your floss through and getting each tooth, one at a time.
A water flosser is a newer option for those who struggle to maintain their flossing on their own. These little devices will send a jet of water through the tip that you guide to each tooth, blasting away plaque and buildup. Dr. Williams and Dr. Hamman agree that water flossers are as effective as flossing when used correctly, so definitely look up your options to see if purchasing one would be the right fit for you. They are especially convenient with braces as they remove the need to thread the floss under each wire.
Embrace the Braces Diet
If you haven’t heard of the braces diet, it’s the simple practice of avoiding a few foods and drinks during your orthodontic treatment. This is necessary to keep your equipment safe from being broken by hard or sticky foods. And it also helps keep your teeth healthy by avoiding known problems like excess sugar.
To start, avoid biting or chewing any hard and crunchy foods like carrots, apples, chips, ice, and more. If you can, cut up fruits and veggies into smaller pieces so that they are safe to chew or cook them to make them softer. Also, avoid sticky caramels, candies, and gum that can get stuck in your braces, and even pull brackets off depending on how sticky they are. Finally, you‘ll want to stay away from sugary and acidic sodas and energy drinks. As we mentioned before, keeping your teeth from being coated with sugar is a good thing when you have braces on, and acids can be bad for the ceramic or metal of your braces!
Keep Your Smile in Tip-Top Shape at Williams & Hamman Orthodontics!
With a team like ours by your side, your chance of having a super successful treatment is high! We will be with you every step of the way, from the free consultation appointment, to when the braces go on, helping you take care of them through treatment, and finally until they come off. If you are in the Midsouth, don’t hesitate to give our Southaven or Olive Branch office a call to get started!