Congratulations on getting your braces from Holland Maness Orthodontics!
Now that your braces are in place, it is very important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen throughout the length of your treatment. Braces, wires, bands, and retainers can all trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque, so here are tips from Dr. Maness.
Flossing While Wearing Braces
Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day. Dr. Maness recommends flossing at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed.
- To get the best results when flossing with braces, you should use a reusable floss threader to floss under your archwire.
- Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader, and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth.
- Use care around your archwire, and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it.
To reduce inflammation to your gums and cheeks, we suggest using a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse. This rinse will help prevent infection and decrease irritation that may develop from your braces.
Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide rinse for one minute, and then spit it out. You may use it up to four times daily following brushing.
Just like using peroxide for a scrape on your skin, this hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse helps the inside of your mouth heal. It can be used for general irritation caused by your braces or for canker sores, cheek bites, and other minor injuries to the gums.
Using an Interdental Toothbrush
An interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush is used to clean underneath and around your archwires and braces. Please use the interdental toothbrush gently to avoid damaging your wires.
We recommend using a sodium fluoride gel to help prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces. This gel kills bacteria and replaces minerals in the tooth enamel that have been removed by harmful acids.
Using a fluoride gel does not replace daily brushing and flossing, but is a useful addition to your oral care routine.
Fluoride gel should be applied following your daily schedule at bedtime. Place a small strip of the gel on a toothbrush, and apply it to your teeth for one minute. Then spit it out. It is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes, so do not wash it away by eating, drinking, or rinsing.
Foods to Avoid In Braces
While you are wearing braces, avoid eating hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar. Hard foods can break or damage the wires and brackets, and sticky foods can get caught between the wires and brackets. Minimize the number of sugary foods you eat; the sugar can cause tooth decay and other related problems.
Examples Of Sticky Foods To Avoid:
- Gum (sugar-free or regular)
- Sugar Daddies
- Tootsie Rolls
Examples Of Hard Foods To Avoid:
- Hard taco shells
- French bread crust/rolls
- Corn on the cob
- Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
- Jolly Ranchers
- Pizza crust
- Uncooked carrots (unless cut)
Minimize Sugary Foods Like:
- Ice Cream
Only Once A Day:
- Sweetened tea
- Drinks with sugar
Stop These Habits
We encourage patients to quit bad habits, such as fingernail biting, pencil and pen chewing, and chewing on foreign objects. All of these activities can break or damage your braces.
It's important to regularly check your braces for bent or lose wires and brackets. If you have a loose/broken wire or bracket, please call our Walterboro office immediately to arrange a repair appointment with Dr. Holland Maness.