If you wear braces, you already know that keeping them clean can be tricky. The brackets, wires, rubber bands, and other appliances accumulate food debris and plaque buildup. If not cleaned properly, your teeth may become stained and begin to decay. That’s why it’s so important to focus on good oral care while wearing braces. Here are some tips about how to maintain a sparkling clean mouth at the same time you are straightening your smile.
Strive to brush your teeth after every meal or snack. It’s sometimes not possible, but make this your goal. Use fluoride toothpaste and spend enough time to get your braces clean. Try these techniques:
- Use a soft toothbrush to brush down from the top and then up from the bottom on every tooth.
- Then switch to a proxabrush, which is designed for cleaning between braces. It is shaped like a tiny Christmas tree. Insert the brush down from the top of the braces between each tooth, and then up from the bottom as well. Do this several times in each direction before going to the next space between your braces.
- Floss by feeding one end of the floss through the space between the arch wire and the top of the tooth near your gum. Gently floss on each side of the teeth, but don’t use too much force around the wires. Also, ask your orthodontist about floss threaders to help you insert the floss into your braces.
- Consider using a fluoride mouthwash to access areas your toothbrush misses.
- Don’t forget to clean your retainer if you have one. Brush it at the same time you brush your teeth, and disinfect it once a week by soaking it in a denture cleanser.
While wearing braces, be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions about safe foods to eat. Some foods should be avoided such as chewy foods like caramel, corn on the cob, foods hard to bite into like bagels, and hard items like popcorn and nuts. Also, do not chew bubble gum or ice. Foods like these can break or loosen your braces.
Dr. Fotovat is an Orthodontist in Sherman Oaks CA offering braces.