Everyone wants to know what their daily routine is going to look like when undergoing orthodontic treatment. That’s understandable, because there are a few changes that need to take place, with the main ones related to diet. The goal at the end of treatment with braces is a perfect smile and better oral health. So, that means that the temporary changes to your routine are going to get you across the finish line in the process!
Why a Daily Routine is so Important with Braces
Preventing dental caries (cavities) during treatment is especially important. The fact is that once your braces are installed, it becomes easier for sugars to stick to your teeth, which attract plaque, which causes bacteria to cause cavities. It’s a vicious cycle!
One out of every five adults has undiagnosed cavities, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association. Your orthodontist doesn’t want you or any of her other patients to fall into that category, so establishing a daily routine during treatment is critical.
Your Diet is the Biggest Change to Your Daily Routine
Most of your daily routine will involve something that you’re already doing every day — brushing and flossing. But your diet will play a huge role in the success of your treatment as well.
Our staff will give you lists of foods that are fine to eat when you are wearing braces, and foods you should avoid. Foods that are hard or sticky should be avoided, because they’re difficult to clean from your teeth and braces. They can also potentially damage your braces, which would cause you to make an extra trip to the orthodontist to repair them. Sugars and sugary drinks should be avoided as much as possible.
Acceptable foods will mostly include soft foods. Think of things like mashed potatoes, cooked pasta, steamed vegetables and so on. The dietary changes can be the toughest part of the process for many people. Just remember that it will be worth it in the end!
Tools for Your Daily Oral Care Routine
The main tools needed when it comes to caring for your braces are fairly obvious:
- Soft toothbrush
- Fluoride toothpaste (non-whitening)
- Dental floss
- Fluoride mouthwash
There are also some tools that are optional, but which can help some patients to fully clean their teeth better. These include an interproximal brush, a floss threader and a Waterpik.
Daily Brushing during Treatment
You should brush your teeth two to three times per day while undergoing treatment. The last time of the day that you brush should be after dinner, but before you go to bed (so sugars won’t stay on your teeth overnight). Brush for at least 2 minutes each time.
Special orthodontic toothbrushes will have longer side bristles, which allow them to work around the brackets and wire as you brush. Clean the exposed surface of every tooth and in between the teeth as best you can. An interproximal brush can help clean the hard-to-reach places in your mouth.
The reason why you want to use a non-whitening fluoride toothpaste is because if your teeth were to be whitened with braces attached, the teeth could look discolored after treatment. They might be whiter on the exposed surfaces. Non-whitening toothpaste will ensure that your teeth have a uniform color when the braces come off.
Daily Flossing during Treatment
Flossing should happen after every time that you brush your teeth. You should definitely floss before going to bed at night. Take a length of floss and thread it underneath the wire and between each tooth. Younger patients may have trouble with this step. A floss threader helps to get the floss in there, so they can really clean between the teeth.
Wrap the process up by rinsing with fluoride mouthwash, which can help protect the enamel on the teeth. A Waterpik can be a handy tool for blasting bits of food out with the water jets. Use it once a day if you add one to your routine!
Your daily routine as far as brushing and flossing shouldn’t be much different than before your braces were installed. If you think you or your child could benefit from braces, call our Suntree or Rockledge/Viera orthodontic practices to schedule an appointment today.