Congratulations on getting braces! We know that your smile is important to you, and we want to enhance and protect it. Braces shift your teeth to their ideal positions, and some patients may even require rubber bands, palate expanders, or headgear to effectively improve their smiles.
The new pieces in your mouth may initially make your teeth and gums sore. You may be annoyed trying to floss with braces, which may tempt you to skip this crucial step until your braces are off. Don’t!
It’s more important than ever to diligently clean your teeth and gums. Why? Because braces create places where food remnants and bacteria can get trapped. If you don’t properly remove food and bacteria, they can cause gingivitis, calculus buildup, and cavities. In more extreme cases, failing to clean your teeth well with braces can lead to demineralization of your teeth.
The good news is that by cleaning your teeth well you can most likely avoid these complications. So, without further ado, we present our tips for keeping up your oral hygiene with braces.
1. Find a flossing tool you like.
There are lots of flossing aids for braces. Try a few and see what works best for your unique smile. Some of our patients like water flossers, and others use interdental brushes or floss threaders with their braces.
Waxed floss won’t catch and break in your braces as easily as unwaxed floss. Some people with braces prefer to simply thread the floss between each bracket and wire. If you take your time, it’s totally possible to floss thoroughly with braces. This brings us to our next tip…
2. Go slowly. Even s-l-o-w-e-r.
At first it may feel strange to clean your new braces. Luckily, it will get easier with practice. Take your time and clean between each tooth. Take your time brushing. It’s even more important to clean your teeth well since there are physical hindrances in your way. Floss and brush at least twice a day, and be sure to brush the back, front, top and bottom of each tooth. Get close to the gum line and brush the chewing surfaces.
3. Use a mirror.
Does your braces kit have a mirror? It should! It’s helpful to see what you’re doing. A mirror will help you see exactly where food gets trapped so you can identify these harder-to-clean places.
4. Drink lots of water.
You probably already know how good water is for your body, but did you know it’s wonderful for your oral health?
Water helps encourage saliva production, and saliva’s job is to keep your mouth clean. Water will also help flush pieces of food from your braces, which is very helpful.
5. Schedule regular dental cleanings while your braces are on.
Make sure you keep seeing your regular dentist during your orthodontic care. Get your teeth cleaned once every 3 to 6 months to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy.
We know it can be more time consuming to floss and brush thoroughly with braces, but stick with it. It will get easier and easier. When you see your brand new smile shining brightly, you’ll know the extra effort was totally worth it.