Oral Hygiene Brace Care & Emergency Advice – it is VERY IMPORTANT that you read these instructions to maintain a healthy mouth, reduce your treatment time and reduce the risk of permanent staining on your teeth.
- Brush 3 times a day.
- Brush teeth for 3 minutes each time then brush around and behind the brace for a further 2 minutes using the interdental brushes in your starter pack.
- Make sure you are brushing every tooth individually and every part of the tooth, especially the gum line to avoid any plaque build up.
- Use mouthwash once a day before bed. Mouthwash has to be alcohol free and contain Fluoride. (Alcohol can weaken the rubber components used on your brace).
- Use disclosing tablets 2-3 times a week, only when you notice improvement you can slowly cut it down to once a week throughout the whole of your treatment. It might be an idea to check after you’ve brushed your teeth to ensure that you are brushing correctly.
Poor tooth brushing leads to permanent tooth and gum damage. The teeth can become permanently scarred or marked. The gums can recede and the tooth can loosen. These are real risks and if persistent poor hygiene continues after these warnings then the brace may be removed permanently to prevent further healthy teeth from being damaged.
Electric toothbrushes have been proven to give patients a better brushing result. If you do not already have an electric toothbrush you could purchase a Sonicare or Oral B electric toothbrush with us today. Please ask for details.
Orthodontic Fixed Pack
We do sell an Orthodontic fixed pack containing everything an Orthodontic patient will need to maintain good oral health throughout their treatment.
This pack includes:
- Orthodontic manual toothbrush – this toothbrush is design for patients with a brace.
- Interdental Brushes – a pack of little brushes used for brushing under the wire and around the square blocks on the teeth (brackets). This is to make sure there is no plaque build up in areas your toothbrush is too big to get to and that no food is trapped, causing permanent staining!
- 2 Minute Timer – this timer is so the patient can make sure they are brushing for the correct length of time. It should be turned again when the two minutes run out to make sure the patient brushes their teeth for the correct 3-4 minutes!
- Fluoride Mouthwash – this is to be used once a day, advisably before bed. You must not eat or drink for at least 30 minutes after using mouthwash for it to work. Mouthwashes used should be alcohol free and MUST contain fluoride! The alcohol deteriorates the rubber products that are used in your braces.
- Disclosing Tablets (Plaque Tablets) – the purpose of these little pink or blue tablets are to keep check on your brushing and to make you aware on how well you are brushing. We advise patients to use these 2-3 times a week at first and then once you’ve noticed an improvement you can reduce it to once a week. What these tablets do is stain plaque a bright colour so you can see if you brushed as well as you thought! You have to chew one of the tablets after you’ve brushed and rinse it around your mouth like you would a mouthwash. Once you feel you’ve covered all the teeth with the solution you then spit and take a good look in the mirror. All teeth will look a faint shade of pink but any bright pink areas are plaque that has been dyed by the tablets! You will then have to brush again until you have removed all the plaque. (We advise patients not use these if they are going out shortly after as they can get quite messy and stain your lips and teeth a faint pink for a few hours! Putting Vaseline on your lips beforehand helps prevent some staining!)
- Wax Pots – the wax is used as a cushioning for patients that find the brace is poking into a certain area or rubbing against the lip causing some irritation. If this is the case tear a piece from the strip, roll it in to a pea sized ball and push it over the brace where it is causing the irritation. It won’t fall off so patients can sleep with it in. Just remember to take it off before brushing and change it regularly.
Things you MUST NOT eat;
- any food items that are very chewy or very hard. Chewy and hard foods may break your braces. Breakages delay your treatment sometimes up to a month or so each breakage,
- hard chocolate, chocolate with nuts and toffees i.e. Mars, Snickers, Twix, Topic, Double Decker etc.,
- chewy sweets, boiled sweets and nuts,
- chewing gum,
- hard crusty rolls, pizza crusts, baguettes, French sticks, seeded and granary breads.
- fizzy drinks (can cause decay).
Things that you CAN eat;
- all foods that are not very hard or chewy and are not acidic or high in sugars,
- vegetables, meats, fruits, pasta, rice, breads,
- water and milk.
Foods to be careful with and how to adapt the way you eat;
- soft chocolate as a treat (eg. weekends) eg. Galaxy, Aero, Twirl, Milkybar, Milkyway, Dairy Milk. Break a piece off, place into the mouth and suck to avoid any breakages,
- fruit juice and smoothies must be a once a day treat as they are quite high in natural sugars and are acidic, squash (no added sugar) is fine as long as it is very diluted. Diet fizzy drinks should only be as a treat and ideally through a straw to avoid direct contact to the teeth. Fruit juice, smoothies and diet fizzy drinks ideally should be consumed as part of a meal,
- vegetables and fruit like apples, pears, carrots cut into pieces and place onto back teeth (DO NOT BITE INTO THEM DIRECTLY). Be careful with seeded and stoned fruit,
- boned Meat – chicken wings, drumsticks, spare ribs but (DO NOT NIBBLE ON BONES),
- crisps – soft crisps are fine (eg. Quavers, Monster Munch). Very hard crisps should be avoided.
Reduce Your Snacking
Snacking is the main reason for tooth decay. This process is accelerated with a brace.
As the food in your diet is consumed by the bacteria in your mouth they produce acid as a waste product. This dissolves the minerals out of your teeth (calcium and fluoride) and begins to cause marks (decalcification) and then progresses in to cavities as the tooth decay worsens. Tooth decay (beginning of which are marks on your teeth) can begin from 8 weeks wearing a brace combined with poor hygiene and a bad diet. Therefore good brushing, reducing snacking, drinking fizzy and acidic drinks (fruit juices) will help you achieve that wonderful smile without damaged teeth.
Pain Relief after brace fitting or adjustment of braces. Discomfort usually occurs 4-6 hours after brace fitment and can take up to one week usually for it to subside. We advise patients to take some painkillers such as paracetamol or Nurofen (Ibuprofen) over the next few days after a brace is fitted. The patient’s teeth will feel bruised so it will be at its most uncomfortable when pressure is applied to the teeth so we recommend that patients stick to a soft diet e.g. pasta, until they feel they are ready to bite into something harder.
Braces Rubbing/Digging In
If any part of the brace is digging into the mouth or rubbing causing discomfort the patient should use the wax as instructed. The initial wire is flexible and can readily dislodge from the very last teeth. If this is not causing discomfort it can be left till the next appointment. If a bracket (metal square) is lost please call the practice for advice on 01277 848818. They do not always need to be replaced immediately and patients can wait till their next appointment. Repeated and multiple breakages are uncommon and can increase treatment time significantly. This is primarily due to poor diet and compliance. Greater care should be taken to avoid chewy and hard foods.
If you play any contact sports (e.g Rugby, Hockey, Lacrosse, Boxing, Martial Arts) you will need a custom made mouth guard. The mouth guards that sports shops sell are melted and moulded over the brace. DO NOT use them as they can get stuck over your braces. We can have a custom made one made by our lab. Please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to purchase a mouth guard as they do take 7-10 days to come back from the laboratory once we have taken and sent impression (moulding) of the patient’s teeth and braces! They are specifically designed for patients with a brace so they should last throughout the whole of your treatment. We also make specialist mouthguards for patients who do sports like boxing and martial arts.
They come in a wide range of colours!
Please watch these videos on oral hygiene and diet when having orthodontic treatment:
Brentwood Orthodontic & Implant Centre is located opposite Brentwood Cathedral and Brentwood School.
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