Braces Require a Few More Steps to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
Once you get braces, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene and to take a few extra steps to avoid tooth decay. Food and sugary type drinks can sit against your teeth for hours after eating. With braces, food particles aren’t always visible and can hide in the nooks and crannies between braces and the teeth. This can lead to tooth decay since bacteria can form quickly. You will also want to get into the habit of brushing your teeth after each meal, followed by a quick rinse with mouthwash.
We suggest the following tools to help with your oral hygiene when you have your braces:
- A soft toothbrush which should be replaced at least every three months.
- A non-alcoholic mouthwash to rinse with after brushing.
- Waxed dental floss.
- An interproximal tooth brush (looks similar to a pipe cleaner and works great for getting to those hard to reach places).
- Waxed dental floss along with a floss threader.
Oral Hygiene Best Practices with Braces
It’s best to brush in small circular type motions. Spend at least two full minutes brushing your teeth and remember to brush the inside of your teeth too. Make sure and also lightly brush the roof of your mouth and the tongue as this helps to loosen any bacteria in the mouth. An electric toothbrush can also be used gently to get the job done a little faster.
Second, use your interproximal toothbrush to really get between braces and wires, and also to get underneath and between the teeth and gums. You don’t want to brush too hard or you can damage your braces; use a light and gentle touch.
While it isn’t feasible to floss after each meal, it’s a good idea to floss every single day at least once. We recommend using a waxed dental floss. A floss threader can help to reach the nooks and crannies that are extra hard to reach. Flossing can be a little more cumbersome with braces, however, Dr. Grewal and our staff at Love Orthodontics can show you exactly how you should do this. With a little practice, it will become second nature and will get much faster.
The last thing you should do is to rinse with a good, gentle mouthwash which will help to kill any remaining bacteria that are stuck to the teeth.
It is usually recommended to see your dentist for check-ups every six months, however, it’s a good idea after first getting your braces to see them every three-months for a short time so that if there are cavities forming or areas being missed with the toothbrush, they can be addressed before progressing into bigger problems.
And most importantly, remember the end goal, which is that you are going to have a beautiful smile! Keeping this in mind will help to keep you motivated to take the extra steps to keep your pearly whites nice and clean!