Our Blog

Brushing with Braces

January 17th, 2021

While you have braces, it’s important that you brush your teeth regularly. We recommend four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces.  Ideally, it is best to follow the schedule below: 

  • In the morning after breakfast 
  • After lunch or right after school 
  • After dinner 
  • At bedtime

Flossing while Wearing Braces

Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is very important to floss your teeth every day. We recommend flossing at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed.

Use a floss threader to get the floss under your archwire. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. Use care around your archwire, and do not floss too aggressively around it or put too much pressure on it.

Rinsing with an Antibacterial Mouthwash

To reduce inflammation to your gums and cheeks, we suggest using a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse. This rinse will help prevent infection and decrease irritation that may develop from your braces. Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of the hydrogen peroxide rinse for one minute, and then spit it out. You may use it up to four times daily following brushing. Just like using peroxide for a scrape on your skin, this hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse helps the inside of your mouth heal. It can be used for general irritation caused by your braces or for canker sores, cheek bites and other minor injuries to the gums.

Using an Interdental Toothbrush

An interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush is used to clean underneath and around your archwires and braces. Please use the interdental toothbrush gently to avoid damaging your wires.

Topical Fluoride

We recommend using a sodium fluoride gel to help prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces. This gel kills bacteria and replaces minerals in the tooth enamel that have been removed by harmful acids. Using a fluoride gel does not replace daily brushing and flossing, but it should be applied following your daily schedule at bedtime. Place a small strip of the gel on a toothbrush and apply it to your teeth for one minute. Then spit it out. Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes afterward. It is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes, so do not wash it away by eating, drinking or rinsing.

Cleaning Your Removable Appliance or Retainer

If you have a removable appliance, brush it every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. Because food particles and plaque can accumulate on your appliance just as they do on your teeth, soak it daily in water with a dissolved denture-cleaning tablet at room temperature.

The Dangers of Thumbsucking

January 17th, 2021

At one time or another, anyone may pick up a bad habit. But there are some situations where a bad habit can actually have a negative impact on their health and influence the development and function of his or her teeth, jaws and mouth. Some examples of these bad habits are:

  • Persistent thumb sucking
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Mouth breathing

The sucking reflex is natural in early childhood and it usually disappears between ages 2 and 4. But if it persists much longer than that, the pressure of the thumb on the front teeth and the upper jaw can actually cause the teeth to move apart and the jaw to change shape. This can lead to the orthodontic problem known as an “open bite,” and may even effect speech. An open bite can also be caused by the force of the tongue pushing forward against the teeth, also known as tongue thrusting.

Mouth breathing — an abnormal breathing pattern in which the mouth always remains open, passing air directly to the lungs — is related to alterations in the muscular function of the tongue and face. It may cause the upper and lower jaw to grow abnormally, which can also lead to serious orthodontic problems. Although mouth breathing may start from a physical difficulty, it can become a habitual action that's hard to break.

Unfortunately, these potential problems aren't always easy to recognize on your own, but your orthodontist will be able to spot them. Fortunately, there are several orthodontic treatments that are available to help correct these bad habits and the sooner they're taken care of, the less damage they may cause.

Foods to Avoid When You Have Braces

January 17th, 2021

While you are wearing braces, please avoid eating hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar. Hard foods can break or damage the wires and brackets, and sticky foods can get caught between the wires and brackets. Minimize the amount of sugary foods you eat, as the sugar can cause tooth decay and other related problems.

Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid:

  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)
  • Licorice
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Starburst

Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:

  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Hard taco shells
  • French bread crust/rolls
  • Corn on the cob
  • Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
  • Bagels
  • Chips
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Pizza crust
  • Uncooked carrots (unless cut)

Minimize Sugary Foods like:

  • Cake
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Candy

Only Once a Day:

  • Soda
  • Sweetened tea
  • Gatorade
  • Kool-Aid
  • Drinks with sugar

When you have braces it is very important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen throughout the length of your treatment. Braces, wires, bands and retainers can all trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque. Careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal and snack, is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease.

We encourage patients to quit bad habits, such as fingernail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on ice or other objects, as all of these activities can break or damage your braces. It's also important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. If you have a loose/broken wire or bracket, please call our office immediately to arrange a time to have it repaired.

Welcome to Our Blog

January 14th, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for weekly updates on fun and exciting events happening at our office, important and interesting information about orthodontics and the latest news about our practice.
Feel free to leave a comment or question for our doctor and staff – we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!