Cleaning your teeth with braces is not difficult, but it does require some minor adjustments (as with anything in life). After all, now you’ve got brackets and wires to work around when you brush and floss your teeth.
But perfect oral hygiene during braces treatment can be done! It’s done all the time. All you need are some tips and tricks under your belt, maybe a specialized tool or two if you choose, and the reminder that a beautiful smile awaits you at the end of your treatment.
We’ll take care of the tips and tricks right now! Here are 5 key tips to cleaning your teeth with braces.
1. Visit your dentist regularly!
Visiting Dr. Jewett doesn’t replace your general dentist appointments. Professional cleanings are still essential! Dr. Jewett and your dentist are working together to create a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts for years to come.
Your regular dental cleanings are as important as ever, and these shouldn’t be missed. Your dentist has specialized tools to remove tartar and hardened plaque that you can’t remove on your own at home.
Visit your dentist every 6 months, or as often as they tell you, to ensure that your teeth and gums are strong, healthy, and ready to support your new smile.
2. Angle your toothbrush.
Knowing how to brush your teeth with braces can make all the difference. Ideally, you will brush around your brackets, including the top, both sides and the bottom of the bracket. These areas are where food particles can get stuck, and if they aren’t brushed and removed each night and morning, they can lead to plaque and bacteria build-up pretty quickly.
Use your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, tilted slightly upward, then tilted slightly downward to clean all sides of your brackets. You want to clean the entire surface area of every tooth.
Brush your gum line as well, angling your toothbrush upward 45 degrees to remove any trapped debris. Brush gently between your teeth and your archwires by angling the brush downward, then upward, to get behind the wire.
Don’t forget the chewing surfaces and inner surfaces too! Brush the top crowns of your teeth, then brush the back surfaces of your teeth, where your tongue touches.
3. Add some mouthwash to the mix.
Can you use mouthwash with braces? Yes, you sure can!
Your braces are durable; they won’t rust, break or stain (unless you really try to damage them or bite into hard foods or ice). As long as you’re not on a path of destruction, you shouldn’t experience any significant damage to your braces throughout your treatment.
Try to use mouthwash every night! The best mouthwash for braces is an ADA-approved mouthwash with anti-cavity fluoride.
After brushing your teeth, rinse with mouthwash to kill any remaining bacteria, to prevent cavities and strengthen your teeth’s enamel. Mouthwash will disinfect your mouth and braces, and reach spots where your toothbrush can’t.
4. Floss is your friend.
Flossing is an essential part of cleaning your braces! Floss reaches the otherwise unreachable spaces between each tooth. It can be challenging to use regular floss with braces, so we advise getting some specialized floss threaders or Super Floss to help you navigate between your brackets and wires.
A floss threader is a specialized tool that allows you to thread traditional floss through a loop, then thread the loop under your archwires. Super Floss is similar to traditional floss, but it has one stiff end that can be easily pushed through the spaces between your archwires and teeth.
Whichever way you choose to floss, what’s important is that you do it regularly and thoroughly. You’ll truly thank yourself once your treatment is over and your commitment to cleaning with braces pays off in a beautiful, white smile.
5. Keep a braces care kit on hand.
Prepare for the unexpected! Items like a travel-size toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste, floss, interproximal brush and orthodontic wax are ideal for your braces care kit.
(Interproximal brushes are tiny brushes that fit between your teeth and archwires, so you can remove leftover food from individual teeth. Orthodontic wax isn’t necessarily for cleaning braces, but for comfort care. If a wire pops out of place, or a bracket is irritating your cheek, you can apply some orthodontic wax for instant relief.)
Cleaning your braces means cleaning your teeth after every meal (or at least most). This can be challenging when you’re away from home, without your necessities.
Who knows, maybe you ate some delicious spinach and artichoke dip and now you’re flashing a green particle smile. One trip to the bathroom with your braces care kit can take care of that.
A braces care kit is super convenient for cleaning braces on the go.
Still have questions about cleaning with braces?
Dr. Jewett and our friendly team are all about patient education! We’ll provide you with all of the information and resources you need to undergo a successful, happy treatment process.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time! If you’re ready to undergo your transformation, request your complimentary consultation or online assessment to get started from home today.