Braces mean the journey towards straighter teeth but do require a more intensive oral hygiene routine.
Cleaning your teeth with braces
Many patients who get braces or are considering them worry about how to properly clean their teeth while wearing orthodontics to ensure that the treatment results in pearly white aligned teeth. This is due to the fact that if proper brushing techniques are not followed, you can be left with stains, cavities or infected gum tissue. Find out more about how to properly take care of your teeth while wearing braces.
Choosing the appropriate toothbrush
Although a regular toothbrush should suffice, you may want to consider investing in an electric or sonic toothbrush designed for cleaning around braces. You will need to make sure that you are using the right amount of pressure that allows the head to rotate completely and allows for more effective cleaning.
The bristles are likely to wear down a lot faster due to getting caught in your braces, so you will need to change the heads out regularly.
Remember that there are several sides to your teeth:
- Outer (close to your cheek)
- Inner (facing your tongue)
- Crown (the parts facing both the roof of your mouth and your tongue)
All of these sides need to be cleaned, so ensure that your toothbrush can reach them all. An interdental toothbrush can help with the hard to reach places.
Use small circles to brush the braces. Spend at least 25 – 30 seconds on each bracket. You can also use your interdental brush to brush over the tops of your brackets. Most brackets have holes in them, so try wiggling the interdental brush down into each bracket.
Orthodontic treatment in young children is known as interceptive orthodontics and can begin as early as age 6 while the teeth are still developing, and the jaw is still growing. It is important that your child understands and becomes responsible for the new oral hygiene routine that will be required now that they are wearing an orthodontic appliance.
Tips for children with braces
There are a few simple tweaks that your child can add to their oral hygiene routine to ensure they are cleaning properly:
- Rinse with water after eating. This will loosen food that might be caught in their braces making it easier to brush their teeth afterwards.
- Remove any elastics and then brush the teeth and braces thoroughly.
- Floss daily. Flossing loosens any debris and plaque at and under the gumline that would otherwise harden into tartar. It also reaches the spaces that a toothbrush wouldn’t. Interdental brushes can also work.
- Use a fluoride rinse. After brushing and before bed your child should use a fluoride rinse to keep their teeth strong and healthy.
- Visit the dentist regularly. Take your child for a dental check-up every six months so that the dentist can indicate any areas that need more attention, and ensure your child’s teeth are healthy and clean.
Brushing as an adult
Adults with braces should do much of the same when it comes to brushing.
Beginning with rinsing with water after eating to dislodge any food particles. Begin by brushing at the gum line at a 45-degree angle. Then move onto the brackets and wire, angling down to brush the top and doing the same from the bottom up. Repeat this slowly, ensuring to brush each individual tooth.
To make flossing easier, a floss threader is an invaluable tool. Soft picks can also help brush very tight spaces.
Once you are done brushing, you can prevent cavities by rinsing with mouthwash to help remove bacteria from your mouth.
Dealing with plaque around your braces
When braces are fitted, plaque and food particles have a great number of places to accumulate and become trapped. You may want to consider investing in an electric toothbrush with a head designed specifically for orthodontics. This will give your cleaning the boost it needs to ensure you eradicate the plaque and eliminate the risk of gum disease.
If you are considering getting braces for yourself or your child, then contact Smart Smile Orthodontics today.