Caring for Your Retainer
Retainers, just like your teeth collect plaque, bacteria and food particles. You should clean your retainer every day! Keep your retainer soaking when it is not in your mouth. Use a mouthwash rinse or denture-cleaning agent to freshen it up and keep it free of bacteria. Keep your retainer away from heat; the plastic can crack if it gets too dry or too hot. Try not to bend the wires; flipping your retainer in your mouth can do this.
Foods to Avoid
Patients should avoid foods that are sticky, hard or chewy. They should also avoid any food and drinks that are known to cause cavities. Patients should brush, floss and rinse their mouth regularly between meals.
The foods below are known to cause breakage of orthodontic appliances and are examples of what NOT to eat:
- beef jerky
- hard or sticky candy
- corn chips
- crisp taco shells
- whole apples
- soft drinks
Soft drinks (including regular and diet soda pop, fruit drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks) – These types of drinks weaken tooth enamel, and they are even harder on teeth with orthodontic appliances, such as braces or aligners. It is recommended that you avoid soft drinks during your orthodontic treatment so that your teeth stay healthy and strong, and you finish your treatment with a good bite and a healthy, beautiful smile.
Brushing with Braces
Now that you have your braces, your teeth are more difficult to clean, so you have to be very careful to keep those new braces clean. You should brush your teeth properly after every meal and snack. Always keep your toothbrush handy, you should even be brushing at school or work after lunch. You will also need to replace your toothbrush more often since the braces will make it wear out quicker.
Flossing with Braces
Flossing with braces is a bit on the tricky side, so it takes a few minutes to perfect. But don’t give up, flossing is very important to the health of your teeth.
Step 1 – Thread your floss under the wire that connects your braces together
Step 2 – Once you have threaded the floss under the wire, wrap the floss around the tooth on one side. The floss is then pushed up towards the gum line and then pulled down toward the wire.
Step 3 – Wrap the floss around the neighboring tooth.
Once both teeth are done, pull the floss out and repeat the process on the rest of the teeth.
Please watch the brushing and flossing video below:
The interdental brush is especially good at cleaning the tooth surface next to the braces.
The water jet is an effective tool to remove plaque and debris lodged deep between teeth and around braces. The water jet shoots a pulsing stream of water stream of water that dislodges remaining food particles. Adding an antiseptic dental rinse to the water is recommended. Use the water jet after your regular brushing and flossing routine.
A fluoride rinse that is alcohol free is highly recommended as it helps prevent tooth decay by killing harmful bacteria and replenishing minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to harmful acids.
An antiseptic dental rinse (Peroxyl) should be used after every meal to control minor gum inflammation and irritations that might arise from orthodontic treatment. Rinsing does not replace brushing. You should always rinse after brushing and flossing.