Oral hygiene is always important, but when you have braces, it’s even more critical. Because food can easily get trapped between braces, you may be more prone to gum irritation, bad breath, teeth discoloration, and cavities. Following these tips will help keep your mouth healthy during orthodontic treatment:
• Take it tooth-by-tooth. Make sure you really concentrate on every tooth, spending at least 10 seconds on each one.
• Angles matter. Position your brush so that it’s angled down toward the area where the tops of your teeth and braces meet. When you brush the bottoms of your teeth and braces, angle the brush upward.
• Cover the whole area. Most people remember to brush the front of their teeth, but may neglect the chewing surfaces or tongue-side of teeth.
• Do the two-step. During orthodontic treatment, you need to brush right after meals. The longer food stays trapped in your braces, the greater risk for plaque formation and tooth decay.
• Plan ahead. Carrying a toothbrush and toothpaste with you will make it easier for you to brush any time you finish eating.
• Pieces and parts. If you have head gear or rubber bands, remove these items before you brush.
• Think fluoride. Preventing cavities during treatment is critical, so choose fluoride toothpaste; a fluoride mouthwash wouldn’t hurt.
• Don’t forget the floss. Though flossing is more difficult with braces, you need to make the extra effort. Some people have no trouble with regular floss, but products like floss threaders can make it easier for you to reach under the wires and get the job done.
• See your dentist. You need to perform home oral care, but professional cleanings will help keep your teeth and gums healthy, so don’t skip your regular appointment.