A learning curve comes with receiving orthodontic treatment and having an appliance to straighten your teeth. At Dr. Lili & Associates, our team is dedicated to helping our patients feel confident in keeping their teeth healthy and taking charge of care at home. Read on to learn more about how to maintain good oral health with orthodontic treatment.
Keep Drinking Water
Did you know that water is one of the best ways to naturally keep your teeth healthy? It’s true! Water contains fluoride and can wash away plaque as you sip. It also dilutes the acids created in your mouth from sugary foods, which can cause cavities.
Keeping a bottle with you as often as possible will strengthen your teeth and benefit your general health. As a first step before brushing your teeth, you can also do a quick swish of water to flush through any loose pieces of food.
Watch What You Eat
Wearing traditional metal braces or clear ceramic braces comes with some food restrictions to keep your appliance in perfect condition throughout the span of treatment. Unfortunately, they are not meant to withstand the pressure of chewing certain things, so remembering to stick to safe foods will keep them in working condition longer and prevent any complications that might extend treatment.
Your Choice of Foods
Dr. Lili and Dr. Wu recommend sticking to soft foods that are easy to chew and digest. Pasta, mashed potatoes, tender chicken, soft cookies, bananas, and much more are safe to keep in your cupboard and maintain your nutrition. Our team will happily provide you with a more thorough list so you can stock up your kitchen with your favorites before your braces are placed. We are always happy to give suggestions for meal ideas as well!
Crunchy or sticky foods, unfortunately, cannot be consumed during your smile journey. Anything that requires a bite or can cause excessive force against your appliance will have to wait. Foods such as popcorn, nuts, raw vegetables, corn on the cob, and potato chips are best to avoid. While you may not be able to eat your favorite food, we promise the wait to realign your smile is worth it!
Thinking About Nutrition
Maintaining your nutrition throughout treatment is essential. It is just one of many ways to keep up the strength of your teeth and oral health. Doing so protects your gums, prevents common complications like gum disease, and balances the acid levels in your mouth. Your oral hygiene routine and eating a balanced diet work together to keep your body healthy and your treatment on track.
Come to Your Scheduled Check-Ins
Throughout treatment, we ask you to attend follow-up appointments so we can check on the health of your teeth and determine if any issues need to be addressed. The earlier we can spot complications, the easier time we can offer while finding the proper treatment.
Our team asks that you keep these appointments as best as possible as they are carefully spaced and allow us dedicated time to ensure everything goes according to plan. Please let us know if something pops up that prevents you from attending so we can help you reschedule.
Maintain Daily Oral Hygiene
Sticking to a routine of oral health practices is one of the most important ways to preserve your original teeth’s strength and functionality. Brushing them is extremely effective in cleaning off plaque buildup and bacteria. Typically, Dr. Lili and Dr. Wu recommend doing so twice daily, but wearing an appliance calls for additional care, that is, making a habit of brushing your teeth after each meal as well.
We suggest patients use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Both are considered non-abrasive tools so as not to damage your appliance or gums. You can also expect to wear down your toothbrushes in just a couple of weeks, so make sure to have replacements on hand to continue top-notch cleanings.
Before your teeth reach their ideal alignment, you will continue to get small pieces of food stuck between them after meals. Removing these pieces at the end of each day helps to slow down bacteria growth. If a piece of food is left in your mouth for too long, it can negatively affect your breath and lead to tooth decay.
Dr. Lili & Associates recommends adding flossing to your oral hygiene routine once a day. It is typically considered best practice to do so at night in order to get rid of any food particles you have collected between your teeth throughout the day, but doing so at any point will still benefit your health.
If your appliance uses wires, a string of floss by itself will not be able to reach down each tooth. Our office will provide you with threaders you can weave between your teeth to get the job done.
Adding mouthwash to your routine is an excellent way to supplement your oral health. This liquid is swished in your mouth to bolster your protection against tooth decay and cavities. Many formulas contain fluoride, the same ingredient found in water and toothpaste. Using multiple cleaning items with this helps to build a defense against common complications and keep your breath smelling fresh!
While brushing and flossing eliminate some harmful bacteria in your mouth, much of it lingers on your tongue. Using a tongue scraper to clean your tongue directly and remove the layers can protect you from buildup. This step only takes a couple of extra minutes.
Maintain Your Oral Health Throughout Treatment!
Now that you understand how to keep your teeth healthy during orthodontic treatment, we hope you feel more confident about continuing your smile journey. Whenever you have questions, your team at Dr. Lili & Associates is always here to help you. We proudly serve the Southern Californian communities of Anaheim, El Monte, Huntington Park, Lawndale, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and Whittier. Schedule your free consultation with Dr. Lili or Dr. Wu today!