Braces are notoriously hard to clean, and wires and brackets can easily be dislodged by eating the wrong foods.

 

Do you need help navigating through the maze of caring for braces? Below, we asked our experts at iSmiles Kids Dentistry and Orthodontics to explain how teens can ensure their braces and teeth stay in good shape throughout the treatment.

 

Invest time in a daily cleaning routine

 

Braces are magnets for bacteria and food debris, so cleaning and flossing at least twice per day is a must.

 

For manual toothbrushes, circular movements are the most effective at removing food debris and plaque. Most electric brushes have circular movements built in, so all you have to do is hold an electric toothbrush against each tooth and ensure that all surfaces are cleaned. When brushing, go all the way to your gums with your toothbrush.

 

An alcohol-free mouthwash can also help kill harmful bacteria if you’re on the go and can’t brush after a meal.

 

In an acidic environment, the process of demineralization takes months, or even years, to occur. This means that the result of poor brushing habits during orthodontic treatment can take a long time to present itself in the form of cavities.

 

Another risk of poor hygiene habits while wearing braces is bad breath. Bad breath is often caused by tonsil stones stuck in the folds and crevices of the tonsils. Tonsil stones are composed of debris, bacteria, and minerals. While poor hygiene isn’t the only risk factor for tonsil stones, it’s by far the most common cause of the issue.

 

Keeping your tongue clean by brushing it can help with tonsil stones.

 

Avoid damage to the wire and the brackets

 

While you don’t have to be on a soft-food diet for the entirety of your treatment, certain foods can cause damage to your brackets, including the following:

  • Nuts
  • Ice
  • Hard candy
  • Hard pastries (e.g., pizza crust and hard pretzels)
  • Chewing gum and sticky sweets

Chewing on pencils and biting your nails can also damage your braces.

 

Learn more about taking care of braces

 

If your teen is planning to get braces or already has them and needs someone to guide them through the process, contact us to schedule an appointment at our office in Corona, California.

 

Our specialists offer regular professional cleanings to ensure your teen’s teeth don’t experience tooth decay during treatment and can help your teen keep their braces in good condition, reducing treatment time.

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