Now that you have braces, your teeth are more difficult to clean, so you have to be very careful to keep those new braces clean. You should brush your teeth properly after every meal and snack. Always keep your toothbrush handy. Food particles and plaque can become stuck to the brackets and leave you more at risk of tooth decay.
Here are eight must-have items to keep your teeth clean over the holidays while wearing braces.
A Good Toothbrush
The type of toothbrush you prefer is entirely up to you. While a manual toothbrush is efficient and effective, we do tend to recommend electric toothbrushes for brushing with braces. While wearing braces, plaque has more hiding places around brackets and wires. An electric toothbrush can help to keep your teeth healthy while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Whichever option you choose, stick with a toothbrush that is ADA approved and always use one with soft bristles. Brush for a full two minutes during every session to ensure you’re giving each individual tooth attention. By doing this, you will ward off cavities and gum disease.
Orthodontic Flossers or Floss Threaders
Regular dental floss works great when you’re not wearing braces, but orthodontic flossers and floss threaders make life easier while wearing braces. Orthodontic flossers are specifically designed to work with braces, and floss threaders enable the threads of floss to reach under your appliances.
Flossing once a day, preferably before bedtime, will help to clean the areas between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing is essential for eliminating plaque and debris between your teeth where cavities tend to start.
Non-Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste
The ideal toothpaste choice for patients wearing braces is one that is non-abrasive and doesn’t contain whitening ingredients. With any whitening treatment, using whitening toothpaste with braces will mean only the visible areas of your teeth are being treated. When your braces come off, you will be left with darker-colored squares where the brackets were cemented into place.
While the toothpaste aisle can be overwhelming with many choices, it’s simple to find a fluoride toothpaste that is ADA approved. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste will help to remove surface stains and prevent future cavities.
An interproximal brush is a small wand-like brush that is designed to fit into small spaces, such as around your brackets and underneath your wires. These little brushes are great tools for those wearing braces. Enabling you to clean into hidden nooks and crannies, an interproximal brush will also help to dislodge food that’s stuck in your braces. Bring it with you on-the-go, and you’ll never have to worry about something being stuck in your braces after a meal out.
A Waterpik or other brands of water flossers are excellent for knocking pieces of left-behind food loose to achieve an immaculate clean feel while wearing braces. Cleaning around your gum line and into hard-to-reach places by using a water flosser is a helpful addition for anyone wearing braces. We still recommend incorporating traditional flossing techniques into your hygiene routine to ensure a well-rounded clean.
Orthodontic treatment makes you more susceptible to developing cavities and tooth decay because food often gets trapped against your teeth. After completing your oral hygiene routine at night, swish around a fluoride mouthwash. Not only is a fluoride rinse an excellent way to add in extra anti-cavity protection, but your breath will also be freshened. Avoid whitening mouthwashes for the same reasons you want to avoid a whitening toothpaste. We recommend patients use an anti-cavity rinse that contains fluoride, and one that doesn’t contain alcohol.
Carrying water with you everywhere you go can quickly help to keep your mouth hydrated and debris-free. If you eat something sweet or consume sugary beverages, give your mouth a thorough rinse with clean water. Swishing water around in your mouth to dislodge food particles from your teeth will help to promote saliva production and decrease plaque buildup.
Using a small mirror or the front camera on your phone can help you to see if there are any left-behind food particles on your teeth after you’ve cleaned them. A small hand-held mirror can come in handy too if you feel as though something isn’t right with your braces, and you’re unable to examine your brackets and wires while on-the-go. Don’t have a mirror handy? The selfie camera of your phone is a great alternative and one that you’re surely used to using.
The Secret to a Healthy Smile
The secret to keeping teeth white and healthy while wearing braces is maintaining a great oral hygiene routine throughout your treatment. If you have any additional tips for keeping braces clean over the holidays, we’d love to hear them at your next appointment with Thomas Orthodontics.