Now that you have braces, your teeth are more difficult to clean, so you have to be very careful to keep those new braces clean. You should brush your teeth properly after every meal and snack. Always keep your toothbrush handy. Food particles and plaque can become stuck to the brackets and leave you more at risk of tooth decay. Here are six ways to keep your teeth clean when wearing metal braces.
Rinse your mouth with water before you begin brushing. This will break up loose food particles and make the rest of the brushing that much easier.
Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Begin at the gum line and brush your teeth at about a 45-degree angle. Then brush the top of the brackets, followed by the bottom of the bracket and the wire. An interdental brush is a great choice for this task because it can more easily reach the tooth surface. Go slow. The goal is to brush every tooth at the gum line and along the brackets so that as much tooth surface as possible is cleaned.
Replace your toothbrush more frequently due to the wear and tear from the braces. A good choice for students is to also carry a travel toothbrush in their backpack to school. Again, be sure to brush after every snack and meal.
Flossing remains just as important when you wear braces. Using a floss threader can make this task easier. It will take some practice to thread the floss under the main wire. Parents may have to floss for younger children who may lack the coordination to thread the floss beneath the wire.
3. Water Jet
After brushing and flossing, use a water jet to remove any stubborn food particles that are stuck around the braces or between the teeth. We recommend adding an antiseptic dental rinse (Peroxyl) to the water when using the jet.
4. Mouth Rinse
After brushing, use a fluoride rinse. We recommend using your fluoride mouth rinse at least four times a day to prevent minor inflammation of the gums. Antiseptic rinses, such as Peroxide, can also be used as needed for cuts or scrapes from the braces. A fluoride rinse also helps to prevent tooth decay. Remember that rinsing is not a substitute for brushing and flossing.
5. Retainer Care
Keeping your dental retainer clean is just as important. Whenever you are not wearing your retainer, soak it in a mouthwash rinse to keep it fresh and free from bacteria. Your retainer should be cleaned every day.
6. Braces-Friendly Diet
There are certain foods you will want to avoid when wearing braces. Foods and drinks with higher acidic content are not as friendly to your teeth as those with lower acidic content. For example, bananas are better for your teeth than oranges, water and milk are better than soft drinks, and so on. Your orthodontist can provide you with a list of foods that are better for your teeth while you wear braces and those which you should avoid.
If a patient has fully-erupted molars, they are likely a good candidate for the Invisalign® system as an alternative to metal braces. At Hansen Orthodontics, we can create a plastic tray called an aligner that fits over the teeth and works to straighten the teeth over time, just like braces. There are two numerous advantages to Invisalign®. The aligners are practically invisible, so people won’t even know the patient is wearing them. The other great thing is that the aligners are easily removable so you can clean your teeth without brackets or wires getting in the way.
For more information, please request a consultation with Hansen Orthodontics today!