Wondering how to have great oral hygiene with braces?
Having braces is an investment in your future. A properly aligned smile not only looks fantastic, it helps to make sure your teeth can stay as strong and healthy as possible, and avoid unnecessary wear. Straightening your teeth can even prevent cavities and decay.
Why You Should Keep Your Dental Hygiene on Point
While you have your braces on, it is absolutely critical to do a great job brushing and flossing, and to keep your brackets, wires, and all of your accessories clean. Here are a couple of extra reasons that may help motivate you to keep your grill spotless while you’re wearing your braces:
Clean, healthy teeth and great brushing and flossing habits can help make sure you get your braces off on schedule. You may be more susceptible to cavities and sore, swollen gums when you have braces. Slacking on your home brushing and flossing routine can require that you pause your regular adjustments and spend time worrying about dental treatment, instead of focusing on aligning your smile.
Your teeth will look spotless and perfect on that magical day when you get your braces off – OR NOT. Have you ever left a cup on a shelf or dresser and let the dust gather? Then when you pick it up, you see how clean it *used* to be? That’s exactly what happens with your teeth – only worse. Plaque and bacteria can gather and stick to the surfaces of your teeth. Stains can accumulate and sink into your teeth. When you get your braces off, your teeth may be discolored (perhaps permanently), and you’ll be able to see square spaces where your brackets used to be.
How to Maintain Great Oral Hygiene with Braces
Great dental hygiene at home may take a few extra minutes when you have braces, but the results are totally worth the effort. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Get Your Equipment In Order
When you get your braces on at 1st Family Dental, you’ll go home with a kit full of supplies to help making life with braces easier. Here are the oral hygiene accessories you just can’t live without when you have braces:
Inter-Dental Brush – use this to clean between your brackets and under wires to get debris and gunk out before your floss and brush. You can purchase them online, in all kinds of options. Here’s one example.
4-Tuft Interproximal Brush – we have this in the kit because it’s fun to say. Just kidding – this brush can really help to clean between your teeth if you have gaps or spaces. It also works well to clean around your brackets and other fixed appliances, including around fixed retainers.
Floss and Floss Threader – use these just like a needle and thread to get the floss between your teeth.
Toothbrush – yep, a good old soft-bristled toothbrush. There are all kinds of fancy, angled models and brushes with an interdental brush built in, but a regular toothbrush will work just fine. Note: you may need to replace your toothbrush more often when you have braces. The brackets may cause extra wear. Keep an eye on your brush and replace it when it starts to look worn.
Mirror – some come with a light (like ours) but there are also simpler versions that you can leave in a gym bag (or anywhere you brush) so you can make sure you haven’t missed a spot.
Step 2: Clean Between (every time)
Now you’re ready to go. Start by using the inter dental brush to get large pieces of debris and other stuff from under your archwires and around your brackets. Move the brush between each set of brackets, around your mouth. Start from one side on either the top or bottom, and work your way around your mouth. You can use the mirror to check to make sure you haven’t missed anything in your back teeth.
Step 3: Floss (once a day)
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Use your floss threader to pull the dental floss behind your archwire. Gently pull the floss up to your gum line and work it around. Don’t jam it, be gentle on your gums. Start from one side and work your way around. Make sure to get between all of your teeth.
Step 4: Brush (every time)
Use a soft toothbrush only. It isn’t necessary to brush any harder when you have braces – instead, use angles to do the work for you. Tip your toothbrush at an angle so it reaches the surfaces of your teeth, and brush using a smooth, circular motion. Don’t saw your toothbrush back and forth or press too hard – you may end up irritating your gums or even causing tooth sensitivity or unnecessary wear on your enamel. You can use your interdental brush here to help clean teeth with gaps or spaces, or to make sure you’ve gotten around appliances or retainers. Use a systematic approach – start on one side of your mouth, top or bottom, and work your way around to the other side. This way you won’t miss a spot.
Step 5: Check Your Smile (every time, with pride)
Use your mirror to check behind your teeth and in the back to make sure you’ve done a good job. This step is also critical if you plan to smile – you don’t want to walk out with stuff between your teeth! With just a little bit of extra effort and the right equipment, you can make sure your teeth are clean and will be looking their best while you’re wearing your braces, and they’ll be gorgeous when it’s time to take them off.
Do you have any special tricks or tips you use to clean your teeth? Is there any special tool or technique that you just can’t live without? Share it with us in the comments.Leave a comment