Four important tips for maintaining your braces

Trying to keep your braces clean? You’ll know what I mean by saying that the wires, rubber bands and springs on your braces are like magnets for food and plaque. If you don’t brush away the bits of food stuck in your braces, your teeth can become stained.

This post includes:

• tips for flossing and brushing
• foods to avoid
• playing sport with braces
• maintenance tips.

If you find this useful, please share. I also welcome your comments.

1. Flossing and brushing

I find Superfloss makes flossing much easier. You can get Superfloss from us at the clinic or from most good pharmacies. Alternatively, some people prefer to use floss threaders, which you can also get from us.

Push the end of the floss through the space between the main arch wire and upper part of the tooth closest to the gum. Work in a gentle back-and-forth motion between the two teeth — don’t use too much force around the arch wire. Products like the Airflosser are also very good.

It’s important to brush at least two to three times a day.
Using a standard soft toothbrush, brush down from the top and up from the bottom of each tooth. An electric toothbrush is also fine.

The key is to spend enough time cleaning. If you don’t have fixed braces, the time it takes to listen to a song on your mobile should be sufficient — listen to two songs if you wear fixed braces.

Once you’ve done this, you can use a proxabrush (otherwise known as a Christmas tree brush) — a brush designed especially for cleaning in between braces. Use several strokes in each direction before moving on to the next space between two braces. Keep going until all your teeth are clean.
2. Foods to avoid

While you can eat most foods if they are chopped into small pieces, there are some you should just stay clear of. Rule of thumb:  if you can’t squash it between your fingers and thumb don’t eat it!

• tough-to-bite foods, like apples or bagels
• chewy foods, like toffee, fruit bursts, muesli bars and bubble gum
• corn on the cob, carrots and nuts
• popcorn, corn chips, bread crusts, pizza crusts — anything with bones.

You can make biscuits soft by dipping them in a warm drink.
3. Playing sport

Wearing braces shouldn’t stop you from playing sport. However, if there is a chance that you could get hit in the mouth, wear a specially-designed mouth guard. These days, mouth guards are designed to fit comfortably over braces and will protect the soft tissue inside your mouth.
4. What happens when the bracket or wire breaks?

Loose braces, loose bands or protruding wires don’t often require emergency treatment. So, here are some tips for getting by until you see your orthodontist.

• Loose brackets — use a piece of orthodontic wax to temporarily reattach loose brackets or place some over the bracket to provide cushioning.
• Loose bands — save the bands and schedule an appointment with your orthodontist. They will need to be replaced or re-cemented into place.
• Protruding or broken wire — you can move the wire to a less troublesome position using the eraser end of a pencil. If it won’t budge, put some orthodontist wax on the protruding end. DO NOT attempt to cut the wire. This can cause you to swallow a piece or inhale it into your lungs.
• Loose spacers — if your spacers fall out completely, they will need to be repositioned or replaced.

If you found this post useful please share it with your friends. I also welcome your questions or comments.