Braces Basics: Maintaining Your Healthy Smile

When you have already spent the time and money to get braces, it just makes sense to spend a little extra attention on maintaining the health of your teeth. In order for your braces to be effective, your teeth should be as healthy as possible, and minimizing treatments and complications will help keep you from extra visits to the dentist. Healthy oral habits are important for everyone, but especially those who are looking to keep their smiles healthy.

There are lots of habits you can put into place to make sure you keep your smile healthy until your braces come off, starting from before you even get your braces put on. Here are some tips to help you keep your smile healthy!

Get a dental cleaning before orthodontic treatments.
Most orthodontists will insist that you see a dentist before you get your braces put on. It will be a while before you have bare teeth, and starting with fresh, clean teeth will make it easier on everyone. You will also make sure by getting a dental exam that there are no gum problems that could interfere with braces and orthodontic treatment. When your teeth are fresh and clean, it takes less work to brush them every day than if you started with built-up plaque.

Keep your teeth especially clean after meals.
Whether you have wire braces or modern, clear braces like Invisalign, there are lots of nooks in your teeth and braces where food can easily become trapped. Braces are a breeding ground for bacteria and plaque unless you keep them squeaky clean. Tooth decay and gum problems will happen faster if you don’t keep up with brushing your teeth. If you don’t keep the braces and your teeth clean, it could damage your tooth enamel.

There are dangers to not keeping your smile bright.
Even if you’re willing to sacrifice a little extra time at the dentist, skipping healthy habits like brushing your teeth can result in extra problems if you have braces. White spots on your teeth will result if you enter the first stages of tooth decay, and your gums may become inflamed or bleed if you contract gingivitis. Make sure you keep up with your dental cleaning schedule throughout orthodontic treatment.

Avoid brace-damaging foods.
Dental clinics like will give you individual treatment advice when it comes to what you can and can’t eat while you have braces. For instance, they will likely advise you to avoid bagels and other chewy foods, crunchy foods like popcorn, and sticky foods like caramels. Soft foods of all types are usually find, though.

If you want to keep your smile healthy and bright while you have braces so your teeth look great as soon as you get the braces off, you need to get into the habit of brushing regularly, keeping up with dental treatments, and eating the right foods. Avoiding problems now by keeping up with these habits will mean you avoid more serious problems that could interfere with orthodontic treatment and prolong the period of time in which you have to wear your braces.


Robert Anders is a pediatrician with several years under his belt. He enjoys helping parents by blogging on various health and dental blog sites.