Getting braces is a huge milestone. Whether you have teeth that are overlapped or teeth that are spaced too far apart, teeth that erupted in the wrong place or teeth that just do not seem to fit together correctly, you know that when your braces come off, your smile will be straight.
However, straightening your teeth is only half of the challenge. If you want your teeth to also be healthy, you need to make sure you do not get those white spots that plaque accumulation can cause around the brackets. Coast Dental orthodontist Mayuri Patel, DMD, recommends five ways you can take care of your braces to keep your smile healthy:
Brush 2-3 times a day, focusing on the gum line as well as around each bracket.
Floss 2 times a day. Talk to your dentist about products such as Superfloss and the Waterpik that will help you clean the space between your teeth and help prevent tooth decay.
Rinse with water after drinking juice or cola, or any sugary or carbonated drink.
Use a fluoride supplemental toothpaste such as MI Paste Plus in addition to your everyday toothpaste to help remineralize your teeth and help prevent tooth decay.
Have your teeth professionally cleaned every four months. At Coast Dental, your cleaning can be scheduled on the same day as your orthodontic appointment. This way, the orthodontist can remove the wire and allow the hygienist better access for cleaning away plaque and tartar. Then the orthodontist can replace teh wire.
"I have seen many patients who do not keep up with at-home care while they have braces," said Dr. Patel. "Patients who drink a lot of soda and sports drinks can have white spots occur around the braces. This is due to the acid and sugar in these drinks that break down the enamel. The white spots can become permanent or lead to cavities; thus, we want to prevent them.
"Our goal is to emphasize brushing and flossing and taking care of the gums during each visit. Oral hygiene is a pivotal part of success for orthodontic treatment," Dr. Patel said.
By following these five simple steps at home and at work or school, you can make sure you have a smile that is both beautiful and healthy!
Mayuri Patel, DMD, provides orthodontic services to patients beginning at age 7. Her services include traditional metal braces, clear bracket braces, Invisalign® clear aligners and comprehensive orthodontics. Dr. Patel earned a Certificate in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics from Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC and received her dental degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. She is a member of the American Dental Association, American Association of Orthodontics, Florida Dental Association and Florida Association of Orthodontists. Dr. Patel practices at several locations including Coast Dental Action Plaza in Tampa, Coast Dental Bayshore Gardens in Bradenton, Coast Dental Carrollwood, Coast Dental Sarasota Crossings and Coast Dental Spring Hill North. To make an appointment for a free orthodontic consultation with Dr. Patel, please visit www.CoastDental.com/Orthodontics or call 1-800-32-SMILE to find an office close to you.
Written by: Beth Gaddis
Reviewed by: Mayuri Patel, DMD, MHS
Reviewed by: Cindy Roark, DMD