Top tips for oral health during orthodontic treatment

If you’re in the midst of transitioning to wearing braces, I’m sure there are many new things you’re getting used to! It can be easy to assume that life while wearing braces will be exactly the same as before, but that isn’t true. It’s important to foster new habits to support your oral health during your treatment, and that might mean breaking some old habits too!

If you are a patient at McGrory Orthodontics or are thinking about starting orthodontic treatment for yourself, then continue reading to learn all of Dr. McGrory’s and Dr. McCarty’s tips to have the happiest and healthiest orthodontic treatment possible! Especially with the support of our team in Pearland and Bellaire, you’ll be set up for success!

Keep up with brushing and flossing

As we all know, brushing and flossing is basically teeth care 101. Maintaining a healthy brushing and flossing habit will help you keep healthy teeth during your treatment and after. But it is more important than ever to be diligent about your oral health habits during treatment, as the added wires and brackets can sometimes make it easier for plaque and tooth decay to harm your teeth. 

This will look like brushing your teeth at least twice every day, in the morning and evening. Some patients like to brush after meals as well to help get rid of food particles that may get trapped in the braces. You will also need to floss at least once a day as well. 

Here are a few tools that we recommend to our patients to help make brushing and flossing with braces a breeze!

Interproximal toothbrush

This handy tool is one that all of our patients should have on hand, and maybe even bring with them when they’re out and about. It’s a small round brush that can easily reach under wires and around brackets to flush out anything trapped behind them. It is especially handy if you only have time for a quick glimpse in the mirror before going in public.

Floss threader & waxed floss

A floss threader will be your best friend when you have braces as it makes it easier to weave wax under and around wires to floss your teeth. Paired with waxed floss, the process should be as seamless as possible, and with a bit of practice you’ll be able to go quickly without hardly thinking! Because flossing is so important to your overall oral health, you will want to be diligent about keeping a floss threader on hand!

Water flosser

If you are really struggling to keep up with flossing due to the added challenge of your braces, we recommend a water flosser as an alternative. This is a hand-held device that you will fill with water that jets a stream of water between your teeth and around your gums. This pressurized water will work to push plaque and food particles clear from your gumline, essentially working like floss. This can be easier to use than weaving floss around each tooth one at a time, so many of our patients find this to be an easier method to get on board and stay consistent with!

Use the right toothpaste and mouthwash

While we’re talking about the best tools to use to keep your mouth healthy during treatment, the kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash you use matter, too! Let’s learn about what kind of you should use to have the healthiest teeth during your treatment. 

Avoid acid

Acids are generally not great for your teeth, especially when you have braces. Be cautious about which kinds of toothpaste or mouthwash you use, avoid using acid that can also stain clear braces or rust metal braces!

Prioritize fluoride

Fluoride is your friend during treatment as it improves the strength of your tooth enamel and can help prevent plaque overgrowth and tooth decay. Try to buy products that contain fluoride to add another boost during your oral hygiene routine.  

Avoid whitening

No hate for teeth whitening as a whole, but it usually isn’t the best idea to try whitening while your braces are still on. Wait a few more months until your braces are off and you can enjoy your whitest smile then! You don’t want a patchy smile once the brackets come off parts of your teeth and expose them. 

If you have more questions about which products to use while wearing braces, talk to Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty! They can give their recommendations and which products specifically to stay away from.

Embrace the braces diet

A new diet usually isn’t what we think of as a fun time, but opting out of a few types of foods during your treatment will help keep your teeth and braces safe. As a general rule, we recommend avoiding: 

  • Crunchy foods like popcorn, nuts, hard taco shells, carrots, and others
  • Hard or sticky foods like ice, caramel, gum, and some candies.
  • Fibrous fruits and veggies like celery can be caught up in your wires. It’s also a good idea to avoid biting into firm fruits like apples–instead, cut them up.
  • Sugary or acidic drinks that can harm your teeth or even the metal of your braces!

Keep your smile in tip-top shape at McGrory Orthodontics!

Now that you know how to maintain a beautiful smile throughout your orthodontic treatment, all you need is the right team to get you started! You’ll love our team at McGrory Orthodontics in Bellaire and Pearland, so schedule a free consultation appointment to get started on your own orthodontic journey!