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One of the great things about having braces is being able to look forward to how wonderful your teeth will look once they come off! Of course, to make sure you have the healthiest smile possible when you’re finished with your braces, you need to make sure that you take care of your teeth and keep your braces clean – which may not seem like the easiest thing to do. All of those brackets and wires you now have in your mouth can create the perfect places for food to get caught and plaque to accumulate. Here are some helpful tips for cleaning your teeth while you have your braces.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene for Braces
While simply having your braces won’t damage your teeth – poor oral hygiene can. Brushing and flossing thoroughly is even more essential when you have braces. As long as you maintain good oral hygiene habits, your teeth will end up looking better than ever once your braces finally come off. You need to continue brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning to prevent problems such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and decalcifications which can stain your teeth around the braces if you fail to practice careful oral hygiene.
When To Clean Your Braces
Cleaning your teeth with braces follows most of the same guidelines for brushing teeth without braces. The best practice is always to brush your teeth every time you finish eating. While this may not always be possible, you should at least rinse out your mouth by swooshing water in and around your teeth. And make sure that you thoroughly brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once daily.
How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces
You should always use a round, soft bristle manual, electric, or battery-operated toothbrush to brush your teeth. Be sure to brush your teeth for a full two minutes, and make sure you brush all sides of your teeth, including the front, side, back, and chewing surface. Brush your teeth gently but thoroughly, making sure that when you finish your braces are clean and shiny and you can see all edges of the brackets clearly. And don’t forget to brush your tongue thoroughly as well! While you should usually replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three months, you may find that you need to do this more often because the brackets on your braces may make the bristles wear down faster.
Flossing with Braces
Having all those wires connecting your braces from tooth to tooth may make flossing more challenging – but it can still be done and is just as important, if not more so. The key is to take the time to thoroughly floss around each tooth, and be sure to get under the gum line on both sides. A floss threader for braces can be a helpful tool because it allows the dental floss to reach underneath the arch wires more easily. There are also many other interdental cleaners you can try – Ask your dentist or orthodontist for a recommendation.
Using Mouthwash with Braces
When you have braces, it’s especially important to make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing with water, a mouth rinse, or mouthwash. Again, you can ask your dentist or orthodontist for a recommendation on what they think is the best approach.
Remember that it is essential to continue to see your dentist regularly, at least every six months. Your dentist and hygienist will not only provide you with a thorough cleaning, but they can check to make sure that all of your braces, brackets, and wires are undamaged and in place. They can also offer suggestions on the best brushes, types of floss, and other oral hygiene products for cleaning braces – and give you tips on how to reach any difficult places in your mouth in and around your braces!