Keeping your teeth clean with braces on can be a challenge, but it is very important for the long term health and appearance of your teeth. Here are some tips to help your teeth look their best when the braces come off.
- Brush by your gums. The most commonly missed area when brushing your teeth with braces is between the braces and your gums. It is very easy for plaque to sit on top of or underneath the braces. Make sure to angle your toothbrush in a way to brush off any plaque that might sit on top of the braces and close to your gums.
- Use a soft bristle toothbrush. To adequately clean all surfaces of your teeth with braces on your toothbrush has to touch your gums. A medium or hard bristle can be damaging to the gums, so make sure its soft.
- Consider an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes provide many more vibrations per minute than you could possibly do by hand. While not absolutely necessary, electric toothbrushes can help knock off more plaque that gets stuck in between the little spaces between the brackets, wires, and gums. Two top brands are the Phillips Sonicare and Oral-B.
- Time yourself brushing for 2 minutes. When people time themselves brushing, sometimes they find that what they thought was 2 minutes was really only 30 seconds! One minute for the top teeth and one minute for the bottom. It takes a full 2 minutes to get a full clean.
- Brush after every meal. Without braces our lips and tongue provide a cleansing effect in between meals. With braces we don’t get any of that. It is up to you and your toothbrush 100% to keep those teeth clean, so it is even more important to brush after every meal.
- Floss. Flossing can be difficult with braces on, but there are a number of aids that you can use. Floss threaders help you thread floss under the wire. Plackers orthopicks are a floss pick that is specifically designed to pass behind the wire and help make flossing go more quickly. Ideally you should floss a couple times a day with braces on to ensure there is nothing caught in your gums. But if you are having a hard time getting in the habit of flossing, try flossing just the bottom teeth in the morning and the top teeth at night.
- Keep up with regular visits to your dentist for cleanings and exams. Your dentist will most likely want the wire removed in our office prior to having the cleaning done. You can schedule with us the day of or the day before your cleaning to have the wire removed and then schedule your normal adjustment for after the cleaning. If you are a patient of our pediatric dental practice as well this can all be done in one visit!
At each of your adjustment appointments we will help you stay on track with your oral hygiene and offer any tips along the way as needed. If plaque is left to accumulate around your braces it can cause irritation and inflammation of your gums, and in severe cases white stains on the teeth. We want to avoid that at all costs! So keep up with the at home care, and we’ll help you along the way.