Whether we like it or not, many of us have, are, or will consider wearing braces at some point in our lives. Around 4 million Americans undertake orthodontic treatment with braces at any point in time, although research shows that the actual number of people who should have braces installed is higher Achieving that perfect smile is impossible without a drop of dedication mixed with a bucket of patience. Although braces can be uncomfortable — especially at the beginning of your treatment — that dazzling smile you’ve been dreaming of is not too far ahead, and you can speed up your treatment journey by taking proper care of your braces! There’s no rocket science behind it; a mix of using the proper tools and employing the proper brushing techniques will keep your braces sparkling!
Why You Must Keep Your Braces Properly Clean
Keeping your braces clean is just as important for your oral health as brushing your pearly whites every day. That is because braces make it more challenging to achieve proper oral hygiene! Orthodontic appliances create all sorts of nooks and crannies between themselves and your teeth, where bacteria are free to proliferate in peace. Unless removed through adequate brushing, the bacteria will gradually stick to your teeth, leading to plaque build-up, tartar, gum disease, and, worst of all, tooth decay.
Keeping Your Braces Clean Takes Patience and Dedication!
1. Pick the Right Toothbrush for Braces
Starting your orthodontic treatment with braces is a game-changer when it comes to picking the optimal toothbrush. Unfortunately, your current toothbrush will probably fall short of properly cleaning your gums, tooth surfaces, and braces simultaneously. Therefore, you’ll need to expand your arsenal of tools to include the following toothbrushes:
- A small-sized head toothbrush with soft bristles (stiff bristles may be too harsh on your gums and cause inflammation/bleeding). Look for an electric toothbrush.
- A single-tufted brush (ideal for cleaning the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies in your mouth).
- An interdental toothbrush (they work like floss toward cleaning the areas between your teeth).
2. Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal
Not all of us have the time for it, but brushing your teeth after every meal impedes the build-up of plaque while keeping your braces clean. Rinsing your teeth with mouthwash is an excellent makeshift solution until your next brush since it successfully dislodges the food particles stuck in your braces!
3. Use the Appropriate Brushing Technique
Next comes the essential step of your brace care routine: brushing your teeth properly. Your current brushing technique is probably not designed for cleaning every angle of your orthodontic appliances, which is why we’re here to teach you how to level up your tooth-brushing game!
- Start by brushing the top of your braces using circular motions. This approach will ensure a thorough clean-up of the visible side of your braces.
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle when cleaning your braces brackets. The angle will allow the bristles to reach the top and bottom of each bracket (i.e., areas where bacteria and food particles love to hide). The same applies to the gum line.
- Now, getting the inside of your teeth clean is more challenging. Aside from brushing at a 45-degree angle, you’ll need to clean your teeth in a straight-up-down-out motion. Be careful, as it might get messy!
- Last comes your interdental toothbrush, which will help you clean between the brackets and under the archwire (again, the most accessible places for plaque to build up). Begin by pointing the bristles toward the gum while covering the area under the wire and between the brackets. Then, gently move the brush up and down several times for each tooth.
4. Don’t Forget About Flossing and Mouthwash!
Your oral hygiene routine doesn’t end with brushing! Next, we must ensure that those pesky food particles don’t become lodged between your teeth. That’s a job for a special floss threader, a floss pick, or a water flosser! Unfortunately, regular floss just won’t do since the braces won’t allow it to reach your tooth gaps. Once you’re done flossing, it’s time to complete your oral hygiene routine with mouthwash. As mentioned earlier, certain moments are inappropriate for tooth brushing (e.g., between grabbing a quick bite and attending an important presentation). That’s why rinsing your oral cavity with mouthwash works as a perfect makeshift solution since it dislodges any leftover food particles from your teeth and braces. Furthermore, it will keep your breath minty fresh throughout the day. But remember to brush your teeth when you get home!
5. Stay Away From Sticky Foods
Aside from adequate oral hygiene, caring for your braces also requires sticking to appropriate foods. Unfortunately, your long-time favorites might clash with your orthodontic treatment, which is why some adjustments are in order. As such, hard, sticky foods with loads of sugar and artificial coloring will favor bacterial growth in your oral cavity. Instead, your orthodontist will recommend calcium and protein-rich foods that are more gentle on your teeth. Check out this article to explore Dr. Lee’s “A-Okay” list of foods for braces!
6. Visit Your Orthodontist Frequently
Once you have a healthy routine in place, it’s time to get feedback on your results. That’s where regular orthodontic appointments come in handy. So visit your orthodontist now and then to ensure that you’re on the right track toward achieving that much-desired perfect smile!
How To Get Gum Out of Braces
However careful we are with our food options, sometimes, accidents occur. For example, you might have given in to the temptation of trying a new chewing gum flavor, and suddenly, it gets stuck in your brackets. No need to panic, though; as long as you focus on damage control, you’ll get the gum out of your braces in no time!
- Gently brush your teeth to remove the stuck gum parts from your braces. Don’t be too harsh on your teeth, as the added pressure can make the chewing gum even more entangled.
- Use a special floss threader, a floss pick, or a water flosser to push out any bit of chewing gum stuck between the braces and your teeth.
- Repeat the process until your braces are free of chewing gum.
Start Your Orthodontic Journey at Patuxent Orthodontics!
Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if braces are the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of braces or have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (240) 802-7217 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a complimentary orthodontic consultation! Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s Patuxent area, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Hollywood, Wildewood, or Leonardtown and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Maryland, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!
- Edwards, Gareth. “The Ultimate Guide – How to Clean Braces Properly.” Smile Stories, 25 July 2022, smilestories.co/how-to-clean-braces-properly/. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.
- “Interproximal Brush .” Welcome to the Dental Associates Website., www.dentalassociates.com/dental-topics/interproximal-brush. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.
- Association, Pennsylvania Dental. PDA Presents the Facts on Braces, www.padental.org/Online/Resources___Programs/News_Releases/Past_News_Releases/Facts_on_Braces.aspx. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.
- “8 Braces Cleaning Tips for Healthy Teeth & Bright Smile.” Thurman Orthodontics, 12 Jan. 2023, www.thurmanortho.com/teeth-cleaning-with-braces/.