When you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces, it becomes especially important to take great care of your teeth. When the brackets from wire braces are attached to your teeth, you have to maintain good oral hygiene every day in order to prevent the teeth from staining or developing cavities. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to maintain good oral hygiene with braces, as long as you make it a daily habit.
Here’s the daily oral hygiene routine you should follow when wearing braces.
1. Brush the Teeth and Braces after Every Meal
You should make it a point to brush your teeth immediately after you finish a meal. You can use a gel or toothpaste for this as long as it has fluoride. You can also use either a regular toothbrush or an electric one.
Start with the top row of teeth. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle against the top of the brackets. Brush the teeth and brackets using small circular motions. This allows you to clean the teeth, brackets, and wires all at once. Next, brush the backs of the upper row of teeth and all of the flat surfaces. Repeat those steps on the bottom row of teeth. If the toothbrush doesn’t get rid of all the food particles, an interdental brush can help to finish the job. Your braces are going to cause the toothbrush to wear out faster than normal, so replace it with a new one every month.
And here’s one more important note about toothpaste: Don’t use a whitening toothpaste when you are wearing braces. The whitening formula will not work on the spaces behind the brackets, so when the braces come off, the teeth will be unevenly colored. If you want to use a whitening toothpaste formula, wait until after the braces come off.
2. Floss between the Teeth
Take several inches of floss and wrap it around your index fingers. Carefully thread the floss between the wire on your braces and the teeth. Gently floss between the teeth and under the gumline to get rid of any plaque in those hard-to-reach places. Using a floss threader can also be helpful for this step if needed.
3. Do a Self-Checkup
Once you have finished brushing and flossing, do a quick self-exam of your teeth and braces. If you see any bits of food that you missed while brushing, do some more brushing to remove them. Also, take a look at your brackets and the wire, to make sure nothing is loose or broken. If you do notice a problem with your braces, call our office right away.
4. Use Wax if Needed
Some patients will feel the brackets or wires rubbing against the insides of the cheeks and causing discomfort. If that happens, use a little ball of soft dental wax and smooth it over any areas of the brackets that are causing the problem. If that does not solve the irritation, give our office a call.
More Advice for Oral Hygiene with Braces
Those steps listed above are the daily routine you should adopt for oral hygiene with braces. There are some other things you can do as well.
For example, avoid snacking between meals. If you brush your teeth immediately after meals, it does not allow sugars and plaque to stay on your teeth for several hours before brushing. If you eat snacks between meals, those bits of food and sugars will stay there until the next time that you brush.
It’s also important to keep seeing your dentist while wearing braces, for professional teeth cleanings. Your dentist and orthodontist are two different types of professionals who work together for great oral health outcomes for you, but they don’t perform the same procedures.
Braces are a big investment and you need to know every aspect so that the investment works as planned. Contact us to learn more and schedule an appointment.