There are a host of reasons why someone might need braces: Their teeth are crowded; their teeth are spread too far apart; they have an overbite or underbite; they just want a more beautiful smile.
And getting braces can offer many benefits: It’s easier to chew food; it creates a healthier bite for a lifetime; it can help boost self-esteem.
But achieving that beautiful smile begins and ends at the same place:
Good Dental Hygiene.
If you’re getting traditional braces, your dental hygiene starts with what you eat. Hard foods, like hard candies, chips, and popcorn can not only get stuck in your braces, but they can also damage them. Likewise, super-chewy foods like licorice or caramels can easily get stuck in your braces. Best to save that bag of Starburst until your braces are removed.
The general rule of thumb for clean-up is pretty much the same as before you got your braces: Brush after every meal. But you’re going to want to get a softer toothbrush. There are toothbrushes that do a much better job with braces. Instead of a traditional head of bristles, a “proxabrush” has a head that looks just like a Christmas tree, making it easier to clean around your braces. You can usually stick with your favorite toothpaste, but many folks switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. As you brush, make certain to pay attention to the space between your braces and your gums.
As any dentist will tell you, flossing is an important part of your dental hygiene. Having braces certainly makes flossing a bit more difficult, but cleaning between your teeth is as crucial as cleaning the fronts and back. Here again, there are certain standard products that can help you do this. A floss threader works with your favorite dental floss. You simply break off a piece of floss, wind it through the floss threader, and then run the threader through your braces and teeth. We can show you how to do this. If you’re not an accomplished flosser, a water tool like a Water Pik can help. This shoots a tiny jet of water at your tooth, and that blast can remove bits of food from the gaps in your teeth and from around your braces. Think of it like a mini-pressure washer. It’s great for removing the larger pieces of food, but flossing is still the gold standard for removing plaque from between your teeth.
Be ready for unexpected snacks! We know that not everyone carries a toothbrush with them everywhere they go (that may just be us 🙂 ). But living with braces means paying a little extra attention. It’s a good idea to pack a little emergency kit: travel toothpaste and a toothbrush. If someone puts a donut in front of you and you simply can’t resist, you can always rinse your mouth out thoroughly after you eat.
If you choose Invisalign® clear aligners, your daily routine is much simpler. You just remove them and clean your teeth normally. You only need to be aware that certain foods, cigarette smoke, and drinks like coffee can stain your clear aligners.
The last part of maintaining a clean and beautiful smile is the easiest: Regular visits with your dentist! We work hand-in-hand with our Richmond dentist partners, and they know how to maintain your dental hygiene while our braces and aligners are doing their work.
All in all, maintaining good oral hygiene before, during, and after your treatment will land you with the healthiest, most GLO-ing smile to last your lifetime!