Easy Ways to Maintain Great Dental Health With Braces, Glenview IL

The recent pandemic has had a lot of side effects, but there’s one you might not have expected: exploding demand for orthodontic treatment! After the so-called “Zoom boom”, more and more people are seeking a cleaner, better-aligned smile to put their best face forward.

If you’re one of those people, you know how big an investment braces can be in terms of both money and time.

That’s why it’s crucial to get the most out of your treatment. When maintaining braces, Glenview, IL patients should always strive for healthy teeth, which are easier to treat and straighten. However, maintaining oral health can get a lot trickier when you have metal brackets covering your teeth!

If you’re struggling, here’s what to know about preserving your dental health with braces.

Brush After You Eat

It’s no secret that braces make it easier for food to get trapped near your teeth. These food particles invite bacteria, allowing plaque to build up.

While you’re wearing braces, try to remember to brush after every meal, not just twice a day. The extra attention can keep the area around your brackets clear.

To do this, we recommend carrying around a soft-bristled travel toothbrush for on-the-go cleaning. Be gentle but thorough when you clean, keeping the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and using circular motions.

Pay special attention to the areas near the brackets and under the wires that cross your teeth. Don’t neglect your gumline, a common place where plaque develops. Always make sure to use a fluoride toothpaste to protect your smile.

Use Brushing and Flossing Tools

A common complaint we get about braces is that they make brushing and flossing difficult. If you’re struggling to clean your teeth with your normal toothbrush and floss, talk to your orthodontist about what they’d advise!

Interdental Toothbrush

Most of the time, our top recommendation is an interdental toothbrush. Also called a “proxabrush,” this tiny toothbrush has a series of small bristles sticking out to make it look like a pipe cleaner. Interdental toothbrushes are great for getting into tight spaces around your brackets and under the wires.

Water Flosser

A water flosser, or “water pick,” is another helpful tool. This device pressurizes water and sends a stream of it at your teeth, which can help dislodge food particles.

Despite the “flossy” name, however, this tool is not a replacement for normal flossing. Instead, consider it a supplementary tool.

Floss Threader

Flossing with braces can be tough. Sometimes, getting your dental floss around your wires or between your teeth can feel like threading a needle!

To make that job easier, try a floss threader. This small tool looks a bit like a needle, with a long handle that has a large loop on one end. By sticking your floss through that loop, you can pull the floss wherever you need it to go.

Get Rid of More Bacteria

In case the efforts above don’t help you get rid of every food particle, get in the habit of getting rid of more oral bacteria. This can better protect your teeth and gums while you’re wearing braces.

Use Antimicrobial Mouthwash

Mouthwash can help freshen your breath, re-mineralize enamel, and decrease sensitivity. Even better, some of the best mouthwash for braces will include anti-cavity ingredients to keep plaque at bay.

Try to avoid alcohol-based mouth rinses, however. Not only can these products cause a stinging sensation, but they can also dry out your mouth. If you have certain oral conditions, including gingivitis, alcohol-based mouthwashes can worsen them.

Try a Tongue Scraper

If you aren’t already using a tongue scraper, now may be a good time to try! These tools remove bacteria sitting on your tongue, preventing it from moving elsewhere in your mouth. Even better, the process is fast, often taking less than a minute out of your day.

Watch What You Eat

Healthy foods are always better for your teeth. Sticking to a whole-food diet gives your teeth more of the necessary ingredients they need, keeping them strong throughout your treatment.

In addition, it’s important to avoid certain foods while you’re wearing braces.

Sugary or sweet foods, for example, put you at a higher risk for tooth decay. Cavities can sometimes complicate your treatment, especially if they’re severe.

Hard or tough foods may damage your braces. Your Glenview orthodontist will likely tell you to avoid things like popcorn, nuts, tough steaks, and hard candy.

Sticky foods are another thing to avoid. Taffy, caramel, and similar sweets can get stuck between your braces and are often difficult to clean on your own.

See Your Orthodontist

When you have braces, it’s even more important to follow through on your regular dental visits.

Attend Your Scheduled Adjustments

Orthodontic adjustments ensure that your teeth are moving the way they should. They also help your orthodontist adjust your brackets for the next stage in your treatment plan. Skipping them may mean wearing your braces for longer!

Get Regular Cleanings

Maintaining your oral health is crucial with braces. Clean teeth are healthy teeth, and healthy teeth are always easier to work with.

If you start skipping your check-ups, your dentist won’t have the chance to catch signs of tooth decay, gingivitis, or other complications. This can add extra time to your treatment.

Protect Your Braces in Glenview, IL

With the right techniques, you’ll find it easy to maintain your oral health while you’re wearing braces. Though you’ll have to make a few adjustments to your dietary and cleaning habits, the final result will be a beautiful, healthy, and well-aligned smile for years to come!

If you’re considering getting braces in Glenview, IL or you’re not sure how to care for your current braces, we’re here to help.

At Graber & Gyllenhaal Orthodontics, we’ll be happy to offer tailored guidance and practical techniques to make at-home cleaning a breeze. When you pair that with our thorough cleanings and adjustments, you can trust that your oral health is in good hands! To make an appointment, contact us online or call our Glenview or Vernon Hills clinic.