Caring for your teeth is essential to your healthy smile. Not all of us are blessed with perfect teeth and at some point may require braces for cosmetic reasons or to prevent further dental issues. If you are going to invest in improving your smile, you will want to know how to properly care for teeth before and after braces.

Proper care before and after braces will keep all that time and effort in making your teeth great well worth every penny and minute for years to come. This article will give you some helpful tips and where applicable, natural ways to care for your teeth before and after braces.

woman at dentist

Increased Care During Braces: 3 Tasks to Remember

With all of the time and money you have, or will, put into getting braces, you will want to make sure that you care for them properly during the process. Your orthodontist will want you to attain the best results as well. After you get braces placed on your teeth, you only have to look in the mirror to see that you will need to increase the amount of dental care.

Braces create a plethora of niches and crannies that will be able to snare food and plaque. This will generally elevate your risk for decay and permanent damage if not cared for properly. Here are a few tips for general cleaning while you wear braces but can be applied to care for teeth before and after braces.

1. How to Brush

Using fluoride to protect your teeth is an important step to preventing decay and tooth damage before and after braces. However, during the period of time you wear braces, it is much more difficult to keep your teeth clean. It is recommended to brush after every meal to be sure you minimize plaque buildup, replenish minerals, and reduce acid damage caused by food and drink.

  • Remove elastics before brushing.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste in a circular motion, at a 45 degree angle along your gum line.
  • Take the time to give each tooth individual attention spending about 10 seconds on each.
  • Do not forget to brush against the braces. Use a soft bristled brush so that you are able to brush gently. But the bristles spread enough in order to get between the brackets and your tooth surface.
  • Brush in a circular motion on all inside, and outside surfaces.
  • Use a stronger momentum and a back and forth motion to take care of chewing surfaces.
  • After you spit out any leftover paste, take a quick look in the mirror to ensure you did not miss any spots.
  • Use a rinse that also has fluoride to add a barrier against cavities.
  • Be sure to follow up with any other products prescribed by your orthodontist.

2. A Diet Change

Most of us know that diet can affect your dental health before and after braces. While you wear braces there are more things to consider changing in your diet. Obviously, the general diet changes that include reducing acids and sugars are a good start. But here is a list of more specific needs during brace wear.

  • Steer clear of hard foods that can break or bend your braces wires and brackets. Since fruits and veggies are hard but essential to a healthy diet, take the time to chop them into smaller pieces. This will minimize stress on your braces while you chew.
  • Sticky foods can get jammed into places and create a seal that you may not remove during brushing. This can include caramels, gum, toffee, or fruit snacks and bars.
  • Do not chew on ice.
  • Break bad habits that encourage germ introduction and can possibly damage braces. This can include pencil chewing, nail biting, or nervous picking at the wires.

3. Pain Care Naturally

Braces most times will unfortunately come with some discomfort. This is especially true after an appointment that includes tightening or some sort of adjusting. Here are some helpful home remedies that may help you relieve some of that discomfort.

  • Use a warm salt water gargle a few times a day. This will not only alleviate pain, but it will also help prevent it.
  • Take an ice pack along with you so that when irritation strikes you can strike back with instant relief by icing the sore area.
  • Use an anti-inflammatory pill before your appointments to reduce swelling and minimize pain.

kids brushing teeth

3 Steps to Take After the Braces Come Off

If you want to keep all of that time and effort you put in during the time you wore braces, there will be permanent follow-up maintenance that will be necessary. After spending many months or years getting that perfect smile, a little extra effort will probably not be too much for you to maintain.

4. Extra Care for Your Gums

When you wear braces it can be difficult to care for your gums as proficiently as you should. Therefore, they tend to become soft and weak.

  • Use a hot saltwater gargle three times a day to help firm up your gums.
  • Be sure to get back into the habit of flossing between teeth and gums proficiently.

5 Follow Up

Because of the difficulty in cleaning your teeth while braces are on, your teeth are inadvertently neglected. Thus, it is important to schedule a follow up with your general dentist who can check for decay using an X-ray and give you a good cleaning. Many find that a whitening is in order as well. If you prefer more natural whitening over a professional one, here are a few to consider:

  • Baking soda: Gently add a baking soda paste to your daily routine.
  • Oil pulling using coconut oil.
  • Peroxide infused rinses.

6. Maintain

Be sure to regularly wear your retainer to maintain your tooth alignment. Without regular use your teeth will begin to migrate back to their original position.

Final Thoughts

Braces are sometimes a necessary way to help keep your smile looking great. However, with all that effort there is maintenance that comes before and after braces. Taking the time to follow through with these maintenance routines before and after braces will keep your smile perfect for years to come.

Have you ever worn braces? What natural maintenance routines did you find useful? Please leave comments below.