Orthodontic braces have many components on which food debris and plaque can easily catch. They usually cling to the wires, rubber bands and springs. If not brushed away, they can stain teeth or, worse, cause dental problems.
Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal. Flossing should also be done at least once a day. But should there be food stuck in these components, brushing and flossing should be done more often. To remove food debris is one thing; to eliminate cavity-causing microorganisms in the mouth is another.
To ensure that bacteria are removed from your orthodontic braces, your orthodontist will prescribe fluoride toothpaste and antiseptic mouthwash. It may be possible for food debris to get stuck in areas where your toothbrush can’t reach. You can use an airflosser to extract the stuck food.
When flossing with braces on, keep in mind that it’s basically the same as flossing without them. The only difference is that you need to be extra-careful not to damage the dental appliance and its components.
Simply feed the short end of the floss through the archwire and the portion of the tooth near the gum. Gently perform a sawing motion as you floss. Try not to put too much force on the area near the archwire. As for brushing your teeth with braces, it should gently done using a soft-bristle toothbrush in an up-and-down motion.
You might want to avoid hard-to-bite food items like bagels or apples or corn on the cob. Caramel, taffy and other sticky items should also be avoided. Also, pass on popcorn, nuts and other items that tend to get stuck on braces.