While braces provide invaluable benefits, they can make it somewhat challenging for people to keep their teeth and gums clean. Here’s how you can protect your dental health, so your teeth will be healthy and straight when the braces come off.
How to Clean Braces Properly
Once your braces have had a chance to straighten your teeth, it will be much easier to clean between them. Until that time, however, food and plaque have many additional places to hide. If you have braces, you should be prepared to spend much longer cleaning your teeth to prevent cavities and gingivitis. While it may seem burdensome, the extra effort will be well worth it!
The best way to clean braces involves a slow and deliberate approach, using the following strategies and instruments:
- Brush a minimum of three times per day to eliminate plaque and food debris.
- Choose a soft, round-bristled toothbrush that has earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
- Floss every day, using a floss threader that is easy to manipulate.
- Use an interproximal brush to access hard-to-reach spaces in and around your teeth and braces.
- Use an oral irrigator, along with an antimicrobial agent to help kill biofilm.
- Rinse your mouth with an anti-cavity rinse that contains fluoride.
You should also consider brushing with an electric toothbrush to ensure that you have thoroughly cleaned the tooth surface, gum line and around brackets. Again, be sure to select a product that has earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
How to Take Care of Braces at School
When children are at school, they don’t typically have the tools or the time to thoroughly clean their teeth and braces. That said, kids should still take a few moments to clean their teeth using an interproximal brush. Parents can also provide their children with portable kits that include a traveling toothbrush and toothpaste. Children can then use these to clean their teeth when an opportunity presents itself.
When they are at school, kids should avoid problematic foods that can stick to braces and teeth. These include hard rolls, bagels, pizza and any sort of chewy or sticky food item. Kids should also thoroughly rinse their mouths with water after eating, to eliminate as much food debris as possible.
Getting Professional Cleanings
Even under ideal circumstances, it’s not always possible for people to keep their teeth spotless when they have braces. This is why it’s so important to maintain regular appointments with your general dentist and hygienist, who have the necessary tools and experience to professionally clean your teeth while working around your braces.
By taking good care of your teeth and braces, you can reduce the risk of unnecessary damage, which can result in costly repair charges. You can also ensure that your teeth will be healthy and free of decay when you have your braces removed to reveal a flawless smile.