Caring for Your Teeth After Braces

Here at Farnsworth Family Orthodontics, you’ll get a healthier smile while enjoying yourself in the process. Dr. David Farnsworth, Dr. Justin Sorensen, Dr. Jae Brimhall, and Dr. Jacob Shelley help patients of all ages achieve straighter teeth and better oral health, but even the best results won’t last forever without a bit of care. That’s why caring for your teeth after braces is so essential! 

From consistent oral hygiene to wearing your retainer, you play a crucial role in maintaining your smile after orthodontic treatment. Whether you’re a current patient or simply considering orthodontics, it’s important to understand what to expect when you complete treatment. Keep reading to learn more.

Maintain your oral hygiene routine

The most important advice we can give for maintaining your new smile is simple: get into the habit of caring for your teeth! This will help prevent plaque build-up and keep your smile healthy.

Follow these basic oral health guidelines to maintain clean teeth and a healthy mouth:  

  • Brush after every meal and snack. 
  • If you can’t brush right away, rinse with water to help dislodge stray food particles.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across every surface of every tooth to effectively remove bacteria and debris.
  • Floss every night to remove bacteria and food particles that accumulate throughout the day. Use tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks to clean hard-to-reach areas.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if you’re sick.
  • Use antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwash to help improve your oral health.

Never miss a check-up

Regular check-ups are essential to keep your treatment on track and guarantee the best results when your braces come off. At the end of your treatment, you’ll have one final visit so we can fit your retainer for your new smile. We use 3D scanning to take images of your teeth so there are no goopy impressions to finish off your treatment.

Be sure to visit your regular dentist after treatment, too! Routine visits to the dentist throughout the year can help prevent oral disease and may catch existing issues in the early stages. Plan to see your dentist every six months to monitor your oral health.

Wear your retainer

The most important step in maintaining your new smile is wearing your retainer. Your teeth can shift again, even after successful orthodontic treatment. Once the pressure of your braces is gone, your teeth will gradually return to their previous positions. This is why it’s so important to wear your retainer exactly as directed by your orthodontist! 

If you don’t wear your retainer, it can’t work effectively, and your progress will be undone over time. This can happen faster than you’d think, so stick to the guidelines we give you after treatment to keep your new smile in place. 

Keep your retainer clean

Keeping your retainer clean and in good condition is just as important as wearing it daily. Your retainer is constantly exposed to all the bacteria, plaque, and food debris in your mouth, so poor hygiene can have serious results. We recommend cleaning your retainers when brushing your teeth using Efferdent or a mixture of baking soda and water. Do not use toothpaste; it can make the retainers cloudy over time. 

Of course, life happens, and there will be days you forget. This isn’t a big deal as long as it only happens occasionally, but you should never go too long between cleanings. Signs that your retainer is overdue for cleaning include a bad taste or smell, a cloudy appearance, or white spots.

Maintain a healthy diet

So much of your health is connected to your diet. Proper nutrients can boost the overall health of your teeth, but certain foods can either help or harm your tooth enamel. 

Fresh fruits and vegetables can help remove plaque build-up as you bite into them and chew, and they are more difficult for bacteria to break down since they don’t contain carbohydrates, fats, oils, and sugars. 

In contrast, consuming sugary foods feeds this bacteria that lead to gum disease, while acidic food and drinks can prematurely destroy your tooth’s protective enamel coating. When you eat foods that are high in these substances, be sure to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water to dispel the bacteria and fight cavities. 

Keep smile essentials with you on the go

We encourage you to stay prepared as you did during treatment with an on-the-go care kit. This will help you be ready for anything that comes your way and keeps your smile shining. Here are a few items to keep in your kit:

  • a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • a small tube of fluoride toothpaste
  • dental floss or ortho picks
  • a small cup for rinsing with water
  • lip balm

Throw this bag in your backpack or purse to handle any issues when you’re out and about to keep your newly-straightened smile in tip-top shape.

Wear a mouthguard when you play sports

It’s not unusual for athletes to have mouth injuries now and then. Accidents can happen even if you’re careful, but you should always take extra precautions when playing sports. 

Wearing a mouthguard during sports after orthodontic treatment will protect your new smile from potential injuries. We can help determine what type of mouthguard is best for your needs and lifestyle. 

Don’t use tobacco

Using tobacco can cause bad breath, stain your teeth and tongue, and cause issues with your oral health. It can cause slow healing from tooth extraction or other oral surgery and even make correcting some cosmetic dental concerns more difficult. 

Tobacco products also significantly increase your risk of gum disease and oral cancers. And even on an aesthetic level, tobacco can stain your teeth and erode their appearance. When you’ve invested your time and money to straighten your smile, you naturally want to avoid things that would dull your shine. 

Keep your smile shining with Farnsworth Family Orthodontics

Our team at Farnsworth Family Orthodontics wants to help you maintain your newly straightened smile for life. These tips for maintaining your smile after orthodontic treatment are a great place to start. If you have any additional questions, we’re always happy to help!

If you’re just starting your orthodontic journey, Dr. Farnsworth, Dr. Sorensen, Dr. Brimhall, and Dr. Shelley can help you get the smile of your dreams at any age. Schedule your free consultation in our offices in Carlsbad, Clovis, and Hobbs, NM, or Lubbock and San Angelo, TX, office to learn more about keeping your smile healthy and how our team of experts can help you. We look forward to helping you along your orthodontic journey!