Cleaning the teeth can be hard at times. Cleaning braces on the teeth can be even harder because of all the appliances attached to the enamel. Proper care must be taken with brackets and wires to ensure that all food is removed from the teeth. Brushing and flossing in general helps decrease your likelihood for tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. Brushing and flossing is different for a smile with braces. There are more guidelines for proper oral hygiene with orthodontic care. Thankfully, there are also products out there (such as flossers) that help make cleaning braces and your teeth easier. Find out how to properly care for your braces and what products can help make cleaning braces easier!
Braces Are Unique to Each Person
Millions of adults will receive braces each year. In fact, there are about 4.5 million people wearing braces annually. In the past, those braces used to all be the traditional style of metal brackets. However, modern technology now affords patients the options of lingual braces, clear ceramic braces, and Invisalign as well.
Lingual Braces – Many patients want the strength of metal brackets without the braces being so noticeable. Lingual braces are perfect for these patients, as the metal apparatus is attached to the inside of your teeth instead of the outside. You can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing!
Clear Ceramic Braces – There are other patients that love metal brackets but don’t want the metal to overwhelm their face. Clear ceramic braces are a great option for those who still want brackets, but want them to blend in more with the teeth. Made from ceramic material, these brackets are very durable, naturally help combat demineralization, and are white just like your teeth.
Invisalign – For a truly invisible straightening system, Invisalign can align your pearly whites discreetly and comfortably. This is a series of removable transparent aligners that you change out every 1-2 weeks. You can take out the aligners for regular brushing and oral care, sports, eating, and more.
Cleaning Braces with Help
It’s vitally important that you take extra good care of your teeth with braces. This is a time when tooth decay can occur in many parts of your mouth. Brackets and wires in your mouth make it easier for food particles to get stuck, leading to other dental issues if proper care is not taken. With braces, we suggest brushing your teeth after every single meal instead of just twice a day. You can use a regular toothbrush, but make sure it is one that you will actually want to use. The toothbrush should have soft bristles so it’s easier on your tooth enamel and the head should fit comfortably in your mouth. Brushing after each meal can help prevent staining and bacteria buildup.
When brushing, brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket. After brushing with your toothbrush, you can get an extra clean by using a proxabrush. This is a special oral health brush that looks very similar to a Christmas tree. It is actually sometimes referred to as a “Christmas tree brush”. You use this small brush by placing it between two brackets below the archwire. Then you brush up and down to dislodge any food you may have missed with brushing or that you didn’t even realize was there. After several strokes, repeat this motion by inserting the brush from the opposite side. For those who want an extra clean, you can use an oral irrigator to blast away food.
What About Flossing?
Many patients have problems flossing the teeth. The main problem is that flossing takes time, and many people either don’t have the time to floss properly, or don’t want to take the time to do it. How well you floss can make quite the difference on what happens to your teeth during your time with braces. Food can easily become stuck in brackets, but we know that food definitely gets stuck between the teeth. This happens even without braces! You may be a pro at cleaning braces, but you also have to be a pro at flossing your teeth with them as well. How do you do this with that pesky archwire that’s in the way?
There are products just for this problem. Use a threadable floss or a floss threader to get the job done. A floss threader is a tool you can use to pull your regular floss through each space between the teeth. Think of a floss threader as a large sewing needle of sorts. You place your floss through the threader. Then, just as a person does with sewing, you will thread the floss threader through each space between the teeth. There is also special floss that has a hard end that is about 2-3 inches in length. Each floss piece can be threaded with the harder end without an additional threader. Every time you floss, make sure to move it back and forth in each space between the teeth, taking care not to apply force or pressure against the archwire.
Cleaning Braces is Easy
You are going to be wearing your braces for 18-24 months, so you’ll have to become comfortable cleaning them efficiently if you want a great smile in the end! Cleaning braces will become second nature to you if you do it often enough. Cleaning braces will help your smile be more beautiful at the end of treatment and will help avoid tooth decay, enamel erosion, demineralization, stains and more. You only get one smile in this life, so treat it right! Many patients benefit from learning more about how to clean their braces and tips and tricks to doing it right and quicker. If you want to learn more about cleaning and caring for your braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!
Braces can keep your teeth straighter, making them more beautiful and attractive. However, if your teeth cleaning habits are poor, your smile will take a hit. How well you take care of your teeth before and during braces will be an indication of how your smile will be after your orthodontic care has come to an end. If you don’t brush and floss the teeth enough, you might damage your smile and weaken your enamel. You must step up your cleaning routine during braces to make sure your smile isn’t full of cavities and oral health problems at the end of your care. We can give you the proper recommendations and guidelines to ensure you keep your smile healthy and strong during your time with braces and throughout life.
Brushing With and Without Braces
The American Dental Association recommends brushing and flossing the teeth at least twice a day to keep your mouth healthy and to lower your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. We go beyond that twice-a-day recommendation and suggest that you brush your teeth after every meal. Because your braces can easily attract and trap food particles, brushing after each meal can help prevent staining and reduce the potential for bacteria buildup.
You should use a soft-bristled brush and use one that’s size fits your mouth well. For teeth without braces, the ADA recommends brushing the teeth at a 45 degree angle. Brush each individual tooth, making sure to go all the way up to the gumline. You use a soft-bristled brush to avoid irritating the gums and eroding your tooth enamel. With braces, you want to brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket. This will help dislodge food particles that have become trapped inside the brackets, which is extremely easy to do. Brushing your teeth multiple times a day is one of the best cleaning habits for avoiding decay.
Flossing the Teeth
We recommend flossing your teeth at least once a day. However, that’s for patients that don’t have braces. When you have braces, it’s even more important to floss each and every tooth. It’s also much more time consuming, but the effort you put into your teeth cleaning habits will pay off in the long run. A toothbrush and mouthwash simply can’t get in between the teeth like floss can, so if you skip flossing, you could have food sit and decay your teeth.
You will have to use threadable floss or a floss threader to accomplish this feat with brackets. If you use a floss threader for your teeth, think of your cleaning habits like you’re sewing. You floss the eye of the threader through your teeth and below the archwire. Then you floss the space, pull it out and thread once more. Make sure you don’t apply force or pressure against the archwire as you do this. For some patients, it may take about 10 minutes to floss, but it’s worth taking the time to avoid tooth decay.
Caring for Braces
Caring for your teeth becomes trickier with braces. You will find that you have to devote some extra time to caring for your braces, as you know have about 32 teeth that all have brackets that can collect food. During your time with braces, it is particularly important to maintain good oral health through attention to proper oral hygiene and cleaning habits. If you don’t, you could have your braces removed only to find that many of your teeth have areas of tooth decay. You could also be left with demineralization that leaves marks on all your teeth where the brackets were.
When it comes to caring for your braces, it’s not only important to clear away food particles that are on the teeth, but to be careful of what foods you put into your mouth. To avoid damage to your braces and your teeth during orthodontic treatment, you want to avoid hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar. This means you should avoid eating foods such as hard candy, chips, ice, apples, nuts, popcorn, carrots, corn on the cob, gum, caramel, taffy, licorice, gummies, and similar foods. Prevention is always key for avoid oral health issues!
Proper Teeth Cleaning Habits
If you’re going to spend 18-24 months straightening your teeth, you might as well keep those teeth healthy so they look nice at the end of your treatment. Brush your teeth every single day, multiple times a day. Floss as well and be meticulous with your cleaning habits. The better care you take of your braces while they’re on, the more you’ll enjoy your smile when they come off. If you would like help with your cleaning habits or tips, call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016!
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December 7, 2023
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