Top 5 Tips for Maintaining Oral Hygiene While Wearing Braces
Don’t neglect your oral hygiene while wearing braces.
If you’re reading this, chances are you or someone you know is wearing braces. While orthodontic treatment can lead to a beautiful, healthy smile, maintaining oral hygiene requires extra effort. Neglecting your teeth while wearing braces can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and other health issues. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we’ll share our top 5 tips for maintaining oral hygiene while wearing braces, so you can keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment.
Oral Hygiene Basics to Get Us Started
Maintaining good oral hygiene is important for everyone, but it’s especially crucial for those wearing braces. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is a must, but choosing the right tools for the job is also important. When it comes to oral hygiene basics, using the right toothbrush, flossing correctly, and incorporating an interdental brush or water flosser can make all the difference. In this section, we’ll go over the fundamentals of oral hygiene to ensure you have a strong foundation for maintaining your oral health while wearing traditional or Clear Correct braces.
Practicing oral hygiene with metal braces vs. Clear Correct is just a bit different.
While metal braces and clear aligners like Clear Correct help straighten teeth, some key differences exist in how they require you to care for your oral hygiene. With metal braces, the brackets and wires create many nooks and crannies where food particles can get stuck, making brushing and flossing more challenging. On the other hand, Clear Correct aligners are removable, allowing for easier access to your teeth and the ability to brush and floss normally.
However, it’s important to note that neglecting your oral hygiene while wearing clear aligners can still lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Here are some tips to help you maintain and master your oral hygiene, regardless of the type of braces you are wearing.
1. Choose the right toothbrush.
When it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene while wearing braces, you need the right toothbrush. Not only does the right toothbrush make cleaning your teeth more manageable, but it can also help prevent damage to your braces.
- Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles; harder bristles can damage your braces and gums.
- An electric toothbrush with a round head can be especially effective in removing plaque and food particles from around your braces.
The Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 and the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean are both great options. These electric toothbrushes have pressure sensors to prevent damage to your braces and provide superior cleaning power. If you prefer a manual toothbrush, the Colgate Keep Soft Manual Toothbrush for Adults is a great option. It has a small head and soft bristles that can easily reach around your braces.
When brushing with braces, be sure to brush for at least two minutes twice a day. Angle your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gumline, and use circular motions to brush around the brackets and wires gently. Be sure to also brush the chewing surfaces and inside surfaces of your teeth. And don’t forget to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth!
2. Floss regularly.
Flossing at least once a day is just as important as brushing twice daily. Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from areas your toothbrush can’t reach, which is especially important when you have braces. You may be more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease without regular flossing. There are a few different types of floss that can be used with braces, including traditional floss, floss threaders, and orthodontic floss. It’s best to consult your dentist or orthodontist to determine which floss is best for your specific needs.
When flossing with braces, take your time and be gentle. Use about 18 inches of floss, and carefully thread it between your teeth and under your wires using a floss threader or orthodontic floss. Be sure to floss each tooth and use a new section of floss for each space. Some people find it helpful to use a water flosser in addition to traditional flossing. This can be a useful tool for cleaning hard-to-reach areas and removing debris. Check out this helpful video for a visual demonstration of effective flossing with braces.
3. Use Interdental Brushes or Water Flossers.
Interdental brushes or water flossers can be particularly helpful for people with braces because these tools can reach places that traditional brushing and flossing may miss. Interdental brushes are small, thin brushes that can fit between teeth and around brackets to remove food particles and plaque. Water flossers use water to clean between teeth and around braces. To use these tools effectively, follow the instructions carefully and take your time. Be sure to focus on each tooth so you do not damage any wires or brackets. With regular use, interdental brushes and water flossers can be a valuable addition to your oral hygiene routine and help ensure your teeth stay healthy and clean throughout your orthodontic treatment.
4. Choose braces-friendly foods.
Be mindful of the foods you eat to avoid damaging wires or brackets. Foods that are hard, sticky, or crunchy can be particularly problematic and should be avoided or limited. This includes popcorn, nuts, ice, hard or chewy candies, pizza crusts, bagels, pretzels, chips, and chewing gum. Instead, opt for softer, gentler foods that are less likely to cause damage. You can safely eat foods like oatmeal, scrambled eggs, pasta, soups, seafood, soft vegetables, mashed potatoes, soft cheeses, bananas, and yogurt while wearing braces.
With ClearCorrect aligners, there are fewer restrictions on what you can eat because the aligners can be easily removed before meals. But we still recommend avoiding sugary or acidic foods, such as soft drinks, red berries, and candies, which can increase the risk of tooth decay or damage.
5. Don’t forget your regular visits to the dentist.
Regular dental visits are crucial for maintaining good oral health, especially for those with braces. Your dentist can help identify any issues early on and guide you on how to care for your teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment. They can also perform cleanings to remove any buildup of plaque or tartar that may be difficult to reach with brushing and flossing alone.
For most patients, visiting the dentist every six months is recommended. However, your dentist may suggest you make more frequent visits depending on your needs. During these appointments, your dentist will check for any issues with your braces and offer guidance on how to care for them effectively.
Sheppard Family Dental Care is your partner in maintaining excellent oral hygiene with braces.
Maintaining good oral hygiene while wearing braces is crucial for a healthy smile. By choosing the right toothbrush, flossing regularly, using interdental brushes or water flossers, and selecting braces-friendly foods, you can help keep your teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment. Additionally, regular visits to the dentist are essential for identifying any issues early on and receiving guidance on how to care for your braces effectively. With these tips and the support of your dental team, you can achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Request an appointment with Sheppard Family Dental Care today.