Braces can mean a total smile transformation, but you want to make sure your teeth and gums stay clean throughout your orthodontic treatment so you have not only a beautiful smile when you are done but a healthy one too.
Of course, getting braces can be an overwhelming change, and we don’t want cleaning your braces to stress you out. Here is our easy guide to keeping your braces clean and your mouth healthy during treatment.
Keeping Your Braces Clean
Keeping your braces clean is important to your outcome. Like the spaces between our teeth and gumline, braces add more places for bacteria, plaque, and tartar to accumulate. Keeping braces clean can avoid the possible tooth decay, gum disease, and smile-dulling discoloration that can result. You want to be extra diligent with braces because it can be difficult to clean thoroughly around brackets and behind wires. But the following advice should help you do just that.
The first step to keeping your braces clean is maintaining your usual oral hygiene routine. Even if you weren’t the most consistent in the past, now is a great time to make teeth cleaning a priority. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day. Use a soft-bristled brush so as not to damage enamel or gums. Angle your brush to clean the gum line and between and around your brackets using light pressure.
Don’t skip flossing, as it is even more important at this time. There are some products listed below that might make this easier.
These products are not all necessary to thoroughly clean with braces- your toothbrush and floss can do a good job if you put in the time. But many people find using one or more of these products can be helpful in overcoming some of the challenges you might face with cleaning your braces.
A water flosser uses a pressurized stream of water to act like floss and clean the gum line, between the teeth, and around braces. This is a great investment for this time because it can give you a thorough cleaning without the difficulty of manipulating string around your braces.
An electric toothbrush can help with cleaning teeth while you have braces. The pulsing of the brush can do a more thorough job of removing plaque and debris around brackets than a manual toothbrush.
A floss pick is a plastic device with a small string of floss attached. It takes away the need for tightly holding floss with two hands, and many find it makes flossing easier with or without braces.
This handy tool can clean behind your wires. It is much smaller than the head of your toothbrush and can remove debris from tight spaces.
Foods to Avoid
Sugary foods and foods that can easily get stuck behind your wires and in your brackets should be avoided. It is difficult to remove debris from these foods and simpler to avoid them than to clean your braces afterward. Stay away from hard foods (candy, popcorn), sticky foods (gum, taffy), and foods you bite directly into (corn on the cob, whole fruit- cut these up instead).
Keeping your regular checkup and adjustment appointments means we can make sure your treatment is on track and that your teeth and braces are staying clean. The same goes for your twice-annual dental appointments. Don’t skip these during treatment either, as your dentist does a deep cleaning of your teeth and braces at these appointments.
Ask for Help
If you have any questions or difficulty cleaning your braces, reach out to our office. We are happy to answer your questions and help you with any pain points you are having during your orthodontic treatment- including cleaning!