How to Care for Your Braces

Grand Rapids Braces Dentist

Metal braces can trap a lot of food against the teeth and gums. That’s why it’s vital for you to follow the care instructions set by our Grand Rapids, MI, orthodontists. We want to make sure you have all the information you need to maintain a healthy smile during treatment.

Here are a few tips that should make brushing and flossing with braces much easier whether you have metal or ceramic braces.

We’ll also share what foods you should avoid and how you can take care of minor orthodontic issues at home.

Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal

Remember to always brush your teeth at least twice a day, for 2 minutes at a time. If possible, we recommend brushing your teeth 30 minutes after every meal. It's important to wait 30 minutes so your saliva has enough time to wash away the acids from your food.

We understand that a toothbrush and toothpaste may not always be handy if you’re at work or school. In these cases, we encourage you to still swish with water to dislodge any food particles and left behind sugars. This method should only be used when brushing isn’t a possibility. If you’re able to, always use the necessary tools.

When brushing your teeth, be sure to:

  1. Brush the outside of each tooth equally.
  2. Brush where your gums and teeth meet using a circular motion and with the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Brush the inside surface of each tooth.
  4. Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
  5. Choose a non-abrasive, non-whitening toothpaste.

Floss Once a Day

Plaque loves to hide between teeth where your toothbrush bristles can't reach. That's why it's important to floss at least once a day. Because wires and brackets can make traditional string floss difficult to use, a floss threader, available from us or a local store, can help you easily floss with braces.

This small, handy tool uses string floss to help speed up your dental routine. All you need to do is pull a piece of waxed floss through the eye of the floss threader and insert the tip of the plastic needle underneath the wire of your braces. Once under, floss one set of teeth (upper or lower) like normal. Then, pull the floss back out, rethread the floss threader, and repeat on the next set of teeth. Be sure to rinse with clean water when done.

On the other hand, water flossers, though more expensive, are a worthy investment for those with braces or patients wearing Invisalign® clear aligners. These devices use a steady stream of water to remove debris and plaque from between teeth. They’re also great for cleaning along the gumline. Some water flossers even feature tapered tips to improve cleaning around brackets.

Strengthen Enamel With Fluoride

Fluoride is a safe mineral that works to prevent the onset of tooth decay by slowing down the breakdown of enamel and speeding up the rate of your body’s natural remineralization process. Plaque that forms on teeth can produce acids capable of weakening enamel. Toothpastes, drinking water, or topical treatments containing fluoride can help strengthen your enamel and make teeth less susceptible to cavities.

There are many different types of fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses to choose from. Choose one that works for you and has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval. 

Avoid Sticky, Hard-to-Chew Foods

While you’re wearing metal braces, you can eat almost all your favorite foods. However, with brackets and wires present, you do need to be more careful and postpone your enjoyment of certain foods until after your treatment is complete. 

Related PostWhat Can You Not Eat With Braces?

We recommend staying away from:

  • Sticky chewy foods like taffy, caramels, most gum, and jerky.
  • Hard foods like raw carrots and apples, unless cut into bite-size pieces.
  • Crunchy foods like corn chips, popcorn (with kernels), almonds, and nuts.
  • Candy and other sweets, unless in moderation.
  • Sugary beverages like fruit juice, sports drinks, and pop in excess.

Take Care of Poking Wires or Brackets

From time to time, we may need to fix poking wires or loose brackets in one of our offices. But there are many things you can do at home to take care of small issues including:

  • If your wires start poking or a bracket is irritating your cheeks, place a small piece of braces wax where it’s bothering you until we can make adjustments.
  • If a bracket comes loose, we will most likely replace it at your next visit.

Learn More5 Orthodontic Treatment Issues You Can Fix at Home

Maintain a Healthy Oral Hygiene Routine

Take a moment and check where you are on the oral hygiene spectrum. We want you to prevent permanent damage to your teeth. Try to be a 4 or 5!

Grand Rapids Braces

Make an Appointment

Our orthodontists serving Grand Rapids and Grandville, MI, are accepting new patients, which makes now the perfect time to call our office. Our team would be more than happy to help you on your journey to a healthier, more attractive smile. Call Armbrecht & Wierenga Orthodontics today at (616) 455-4800 or contact us online.

This blog post has been updated.