Tips for Keeping Your Braces Clean
Cleaning your teeth does take some extra care when you’re wearing braces, but with good oral hygiene you can keep your mouth and your braces in top shape. Make sure you have healthy teeth and gums when those braces come off by following these tips for cleaning your braces in the morning and at night.
Remove Extra Parts
Before you start cleaning your braces and your teeth, remove headgear or rubber bands. You’ll sanitize your headgear separately, and you can put in a fresh set of rubber bands after you brush. Brushing with these implements still in your mouth gives you extra obstacles to getting your braces sparkling clean.
Brush After Each Meal and Before Bed
Braces easily trap food in your mouth, so you should brushing after each meal to keep your teeth clean. When you’re at school during the day, away at a sporting event, or visiting friends, bring a toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste with you so you can keep up your great brushing habits. Even if you brush after dinner, make sure you brush again before bed.
Focus on Brushing Technique
Brushing technique is very important while you’re wearing braces. Brushing should take at least two minutes, and while you’re wearing braces you should focus on each tooth individually. Make sure you’re getting all surfaces of the tooth, including the inner side. Brush all around the bracket, angling your brush so you reach every surface of your teeth. A little cone-shaped brush called a proxy brush will help get the surface under the wire if you have trouble with your regular toothbrush.
Floss Every Day
Getting floss underneath your braces wire is annoying, we know, but you’ve got to do it at least once a day. Floss at night so you’re not rushing. A floss threader will help you get regular floss under your braces wire and between your teeth. Super Floss is another great product people with braces use. It has a hard end, which makes it easy to thread through your braces. Floss normally in tight spaces, then use the spongy part of the Super Floss to clean any large gaps between your teeth.
Rinse With Fluoride
Twice a day, after you brush in the morning and after you brush in the evening, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. If your dentist recommends and prescribes it, you can also use fluoride gel. In the evening, apply the gel to your teeth, leave it on for a minute, then spit it out. Do this right before bed, as you should not eat or drink for half an hour after you use fluoride gel to ensure it stays on your teeth.
If it feels like you’re brushing a lot, that’s a good thing. Extra surfaces in your mouth give bacteria more places to live. Brushing often and removing all food particles from your mouth after you eat gets rid of most of the bacteria, leaving your mouth and teeth sparkling.
Image via Flickr by Travis Hornung