Now that you wear braces, your teeth are harder to clean. You must be very careful to keep these new “dental appliances” clean. After each meal and snack, you will need to brush your teeth thoroughly. For this reason, you should always have a toothbrush on hand. Debris and plaque can stick to the brackets and increase the risk of tooth decay. Here are ways to keep your teeth clean while wearing braces.
Brushing Between Braces and Teeth
While braces improve your smile and overall oral health, they can also hinder tooth cleaning. This is because they create nooks and crannies where bacteria can get stuck if the area is bypassed when brushing. You will want to take special care to clean these areas as part of your regular cleaning routine. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes. If you want to be extremely accurate, you can get an interdental brush; it is equipped with a smaller head which is useful for cleaning small or uncomfortable places. If you choose one, brush your teeth for another two minutes with the interdental brush. You will want to rinse your mouth with water before brushing; this will break loose food particles and greatly facilitate the rest of the brushing process.
Brush with Fluoride Toothpaste
Begin at the gum line and brush your teeth at around 45-degree angles. Next, you will want to clean the bracket tops, then the bracket bottom, and finally the wire. For this job, an interdental brush is a good choice because it can reach the surface of your teeth quickly. The goal is to brush each tooth along the gum line and along the brackets to clean as much of the tooth surface as possible. You may need to replace the brush more often due to wear on the braces. A good choice for students is to take a travel toothbrush to school. Again, remember to brush your teeth after each snack and meal.
Dental Floss Daily
In addition to regular tooth brushing, it is also worth using dental floss. You can thread the wire through the wires of your braces so that they do not slip. Then, you can gently take away food residue that may be stuck in hard-to-reach places.
It’s worth investing in a fluoride-containing mouthwash. It helps to keep the braces clean, which in turn protects your lips and teeth. Remember that dental experts at Tiger Smile Dental, Baton Rouge recommend that you wait at least 30 minutes after brushing your teeth to use mouthwash. Otherwise, you can wash off the fluoride from the toothpaste.
Keep the Retainer Clean
It is equally important to keep your retainer clean at all times. If you do not wear the handle, soak it in some mouthwash to keep it fresh and free of bacteria. Your handle should be cleaned daily.
After brushing your teeth and using dental floss, you can use a water jet to remove stubborn food debris that builds up around orthodontic appliances or between your teeth. When using the nozzle, we recommend adding antiseptic mouthwash to the water.
Avoid Hard or Sticky Foods
There are several types of food (especially sticky ones) that are simply not suitable for braces, including chewy sweets, marshmallows, bars containing toffee or caramel, crunchy peanut butter, and cheesy bread.
Sticky foods can get caught between the braces and teeth. If the food stays there, bacteria can grow and develop in the mouth; this can eventually lead to pain and tooth decay. In addition, hard foods can loosen wires and damage the braces. The type of food you eat can affect your treatment, and you may need to contact your dentist again for repair if you put too much stress on your braces. For this reason, choose your food wisely to ensure that you are taking care of your braces at all times. If you do run into some struggles with cleaning with braces on, don’t be afraid to get dental care with the dentist in Coconut Grove for some extra help.