7 Ways To Keep Teeth Healthy After Braces

7 Ways To Keep Teeth Healthy After Braces : Getting through your phase of braces and having the perfect arch is no excuse to become complacent and neglect dental hygiene. Post-orthodontic care is critical if you want the effects of braces to last. It is equally important to take special care of your teeth after your braces are removed as it is while they are on.

Good oral care is needed after braces because there is a risk that your teeth will resume their previous unaligned positions or will develop plaque or stains where the brackets used to be. If your braces no longer provide support, your teeth might begin to shift back. Although a small amount of shifting is expected and perhaps inevitable, negligence may lead to more drastic changes.

Other than that, there is a risk of emerging wisdom teeth, tooth loss, and periodontal disease. Fortunately, such consequences are also entirely avoidable with the proper care. The following are ways you can make sure your teeth stay healthy after braces are removed:

  1. Wear your retainers regularly

    It is natural for teeth to shift back into their original position following any straightening procedure, and retainers help prevent this from happening. The few months after you get your braces removed are the most critical, and you must follow your orthodontist’s instructions regarding retainers down to a tee.

    After your braces get off, the orthodontist makes retainers based on impressions of your teeth. You may have many questions regarding the retainers. For instance, how long do you have to wear retainers after braces? That depends on how long you wore your braces and what your teeth were like before you started the treatment. Some will have to wear theirs all day, practically every day for four months, while for others, twelve months will suffice. After your braces are removed, most orthodontists recommend you wear a retainer every night for the rest of your life. And if you’re wondering if the retainers will be just as uncomfortable as braces or hurt as much? No, they won’t always. It’s normal to experience discomfort, tightness, or pain when wearing a retainer initially. But, over time, the retainer will feel comfortable, and you won’t even notice it’s there.

  2. Get a professional cleaning

    Wearing and maintaining braces is no easy task. Despite your careful brushing and flossing regularly, you cannot guarantee that your teeth are thoroughly clean. When you wear braces, plaque inevitably builds up in crevices you cannot reach with simple brushing or flossing.

    When your braces come off, it is time for thorough cleaning to rid your teeth of all the plaque and stains. Schedule an exam and professional cleaning with your dentist as soon as possible. You should also schedule professional teeth cleaning appointments every three to six months to maintain good dental health.

  3. Make sure to keep your retainers clean

    If your retainers are not kept clean, it will negatively impact your dental health. Dirty retainers will trap bacteria and cause more problems. Therefore, don’t forget to clean your retainers properly, as per the orthodontist’s instruction, once or twice a day.

    For most retainers, a good brushing with regular toothpaste should suffice; for others, you might have to use a denture cleaner or mouthwash. Also, make sure to always keep your retainers in a clean place. For instance, when you remove them at lunchtime, don’t wrap them in a napkin. Instead, keep a retainer case where you can be sure they won’t get contaminated.

  4. Treat yourself to a professional teeth whitening

    Yellowing, discolored, or stained teeth are a common complaint by patients once their braces get off, putting a damper on the otherwise picture-perfect straight smile. Consider getting a professional whitening treatment sometime after your teeth are braces-free.

    Ideally, six months is needed to let your teeth settle and strengthen because it is common to experience some sensitivity and weakness right after braces are removed. This wait also serves another purpose. Sometimes, giving your teeth time to recover on their own also helps, as saliva reduces discoloration.

    Other than seeking professional services, you can also try over-the-counter products like whitening strips, pens, or a home bleaching tray.

  5. Maintain a thorough dental routine

    Now that you have invested much in your dental hygiene and are on the road to maintaining a perfectly straight smile, try to be more diligent in your daily dental routine.

    Brush regularly, ideally twice a day, with a brush that has soft bristles, and don’t use the same brush for more than three to four months. You should also floss at least once a day and rinse regularly. Using mouthwash is also a recommended practice, especially if your dentist suggests it. Lastly, get a twice-yearly dental checkup to ensure that there are no decaying teeth, cavities, or other such problems.

    Right after your braces are off, in the first six months, you need to be a little extra careful; visit the dentist regularly during this period and then every nine months to avoid any complications with your teeth adjustment process.

  6. Be on the lookout for shifting teeth

    You don’t want years of hard work, pain, and investment to go to waste because of a little carelessness; if you notice even the slightest bit of shifting in your teeth, get in touch with your orthodontist immediately.

    Sometimes, certain dental conditions, tooth loss, teeth grinding, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can cause your teeth to shift back. Other times, it may be because of an ill-fitting, damaged retainer or carelessness in wearing retainers. For some young patients, emerging wisdom teeth can be the cause.

    Whichever the case, consult your orthodontist immediately and administer the necessary treatment; for instance, you might need to remove your wisdom tooth or get a new pair of aligners.

  7. Look for and treat complications

    Unfortunately, for some patients, the experience with braces doesn’t go as smoothly as it might for others, and complications like TMJ and gum recession arise. Since braces force the teeth out of their position, they might put undue stress on the jaw and cause jaw pain, chewing difficulties, jaw lock, and headaches (signs of TMJ). Such force by the braces might also cause the gum tissue surrounding the teeth to recede or get pushed away.

    If you identify signs of TMJ, do the following; keep your facial muscles relaxed, do not take too chewy food, and don’t be careless with your retainers.

    To reduce the chances of gum recession, you should use a soft-bristled brush, avoid clenching or grinding, and, again, not compromise on wearing your retainers. Such complications may even arise years after your braces are removed, so regular dental exams will help you look out for such problems and treat them in time.


If your time with braces is over, you are likely looking forward to a straight, bright smile, but don’t sit back and relax just yet! Remember to wear retainers regularly, clean them, get a thorough professional cleaning, maintain a good dental routine, and watch out for shifting teeth or complications like gum recession. In the long run, such care is critical if you want to maintain the impact of your braces.





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