Although the average length of orthodontic treatment has decreased because of newer technologies and materials, most children and adults spend 12-24 months in braces. Following these 10 simple “rules” can speed up treatment and result in a healthy, white, straight smile!
10. Brushing and flossing your teeth can be challenging when wearing braces, but it is extremely important to do both consistently. Brush after every meal.
9. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Although manual toothbrushes can be very effective, power toothbrushes, such as Sonicare and Oral B, are great and come with specialized orthodontic attachments. The amount of time spent and technique used is more important than the type of brush.
8. Brushing technique is key. Use circular motions between the bracket and the gum line. Spend 10 seconds on each tooth and at least 2 minutes total.
7. Floss daily. This keeps the gums from developing gingivitis and periodontal disease. Floss threaders and small “proxy brushes” help to make this task easier.
6. Rinse twice a day with an antiseptic mouth rinse. This will help to keep the bacterial load down, prevent gingivitis, and maintain fresh breath.
5. Use a fluoride rinse or paste as prescribed by your orthodontist or dentist to help prevent decalcification or “white spotting” of the enamel.
4. Avoid hard foods such as candy, chips, popcorn, nuts, pizza crust, and ice. It will help keep the brackets and archwires in place. Add an additional month in braces when brackets come off or breaks
3. Avoid chewy foods such as bubble gum, Starburst, Tootsie Rolls, Gummy Bears, caramels, and taffy for the same reason as above.
2. Reduce orthodontic soreness by taking over the counter analgesics such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin).
1. Patients who are prone to ulcerations or cold sores should ask their orthodontist to prescribe “Magic Mouthrinse.”
To find out the answers to other frequently asked questions, visit the American Association of Orthodontists website at www.braces.org, or the American Board of Orthodontics website at www.americanboardortho.com.