What areas of oral health do I need to take note of before and after removing my braces?

Doctor's Answers 1

Thank you for your excellent question. Braces are stuck onto your teeth and with the braces wire in place, food gets stuck more easily around the teeth. Hence good oral health is imperative for a healthy mouth during the period of braces treatment which typically takes 1- 2 years. Good oral health care has 2 arms, excellent oral hygiene and a healthy diet.

During braces treatment, it is important to clean all the corners of the braces and under the braces wire with either interproximal brushes or interspace brushes. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day is recommended. Flossing with regular floss would require the use of a floss threader, alternatively you can purchase Oral B superfloss or the Platypus orthodontic flosser to make it easier to floss around the braces.

During braces treatment, it is important to eat a healthy diet and stay away from high sugary foods. High sugary foods such as sticky sweets and sugary drinks should be avoided as bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and causes an acid reaction which can leach minerals out of your teeth resulting in unsightly white spots. It would be most helpful to stay away from hard and crunchy foods that may cause the braces to come loose as this may slow down your treatment.

After removal of your braces, maintaining good oral health will be much easier as food trap will reduce significantly and you can now floss your teeth with ease. Your dentist/orthodontist will issue you a set of retainers to maintain your smile. If you have been given fixed retainers (a wire bonded to the back of your front teeth), it is important to floss under the fixed retainer at least once a day. Removable retainers need to be cleaned twice a day, but keeping retainers clean is not difficult, just use the same toothbrush and toothpaste that you use to clean your teeth to clean your retainers. You can also use Retainer Brite once a week, it is a cleaning tablet designed specifically to help disinfect retainers. More importantly, wearing your retainers is extremely crucial to help maintain your smile as teeth have little ligaments called periodontal ligaments which want to pull the teeth back to its original position, hence wear your retainers if you don't want your teeth to shift out of place.

Hope this helps and all the very best,

Dr Priscilla Lu

Orthodontist at the Orthodontic Clinic

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