Our goal at Lozman Orthodontics is to help you get the beautiful, healthy smile you deserve. We help patients of all ages get straighter teeth and better oral health, but even the best results won’t last forever without commitment to compliance. 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 in our Latham, NY, office or just starting to consider braces, it’s important to understand what to expect when you complete treatment. Keep reading to learn how to care for your teeth after braces or aligners, and be prepared to protect your smile.
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 Dr. Lozman.
If you don’t wear your retainer, there’s nothing to keep your teeth in place as they solidify, 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.
Keep Your Retainer Clean
Keeping your retainer clean and in good condition is just as important as wearing it daily. Your retainer is in your mouth often, so it’s constantly exposed to all the bacteria, plaque, and food debris hanging around there! Dr. Lozman recommends cleaning your retainers whenever you brush your teeth using baking soda or denture cleaner. Don’t use toothpaste because it can make the retainers cloudy.
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 be able to recognize when your retainer is overdue for a cleaning! These signs include a bad taste or smell, a cloudy appearance, or white spots.
Never Miss A Check-Up
Dr. Lozman checks on you after your braces are removed for one quick visit to make sure your results are satisfying and to give you a custom retainer. This visit is important to ensure your retainer fits correctly and it’s holding your teeth in place.
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 for a professional cleaning and to monitor your oral health.
Maintain Your Oral Hygiene Routine
The most simple yet important advice we can give for maintaining your new smile is this: get into the habit of caring for your teeth! This will help prevent plaque build-up and keep your smile healthy.
These basic oral health guidelines will help you 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 leftover 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 the whole surface of every tooth to remove bacteria and debris.
- Floss every night to remove bacteria and food particles that accumulate throughout the day. Tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks can help clean hard-to-reach areas.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if you’ve been sick.
- Use antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes to help further improve your oral health.
Maintain A Healthy Diet
Your diet directly influences your health, so it’s important to eat a healthy variety of foods. 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 the bacteria that lead to gum disease, while acidic food and drinks can prematurely destroy your tooth’s protective enamel coating.
Keep Smile Essentials with You On-the-Go
Staying prepared for your oral health, as you did during treatment, is a great way to keep your smile in shape. Keeping an on-the-go care kit with the following items will help you be prepared:
- a soft-bristled toothbrush
- a small tube of fluoride toothpaste
- dental floss or ortho picks
- a small cup for rinsing with water
- lip balm
Wear A Mouthguard During 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 to protect your smile 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 at your final check-up.
Don’t Use Tobacco
Tobacco use can cause bad breath and issues with your oral health. It can delay 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 the enamel, making them more prone to breaking and cracking.
Keep Your Smile Shining with Lozman Orthodontics
Our team at Lozman 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. Robin Lozman or Dr. Michael Lozman can help you get the smile of your dreams at any age. Schedule a free consultation in our Latham 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!