Keeping Your Teeth Clean with Braces
If you have recently started orthodontic treatment, you may be wondering how you can keep your teeth clean with braces. The proper routine for keeping your braces clean is essential for your long-term oral health. Brackets and wires often trap food particles against the teeth, leaving you at risk for tooth decay, plaque build-up, cavities, and staining. While having braces can make your teeth more difficult to clean, it’s not impossible. Here are six tips for keeping your teeth clean with braces.
1. Be Sure to Visit Your Dentist Regularly
While an orthodontist will be checking your teeth regularly to ensure your treatment stays on track, it’s even more important to visit your dentist at least twice a year. Regular cleanings by your dentist or hygienist will keep your teeth and braces clean, and having a thorough scan for plaque build-up or decay will help maintain your healthy smile. If you don’t have a dentist that you go to regularly, your orthodontist can recommend one.
2. Adopt a Braces-Friendly Diet
Certain foods can wreak havoc on your dental care. Chewy, sticky, crunchy, and hard foods can get stuck in your braces and are notoriously difficult to clean. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends avoiding eating the following foods:
- Chewy: Pizza crust, bagels, and beef jerky
- Crunchy: Popcorn, chips, and ice
- Hard: Nuts, hard candies, and toffee
- Sticky: Caramel, gum, and gummy candies
You will also want to avoid eating foods that require biting with your front teeth first; examples include corn on the cob, ribs, and chicken wings. These foods can get stuck in between your wires and brackets, making it difficult to remove. Eating these foods can also cause damage to your braces and teeth. While there are several foods you should avoid, there are plenty you can enjoy. Check out these easy-to-make braces-friendly recipes for ideas!
3. Brush Using the 2:2 Method to Clean Teeth with Braces
The American Dental Association advises brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Brushing your teeth removes plaque, which is a sticky film that forms on your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria and can produce acids that weaken tooth enamel. If possible, brushing after every meal is even better when you have braces.
4. Floss at Least Once a Day
Even though flossing is essential for dental health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 37% of people floss daily. Flossing daily helps prevent gum disease and cavities by reaching certain areas toothbrushes can’t, especially in between teeth. However, if you have braces, it can be difficult to floss around the brackets and wires. Consider using a floss threader to thread the floss under the wires of your braces. You can find floss threaders in the dental aisle of your local grocery or drug store. You can also use a waterpik for a gentler way to clean between your teeth.
5. Rinse Your Mouth with Fluoride Rinse
After brushing and flossing your teeth, use a fluoride rinse to prevent gum inflammation and tooth decay. Studies show mouthwash can also kill bacteria in your mouth, which results in the reduction of plaque and gingivitis. Mouthwash is similar to dental floss in that it can get in between your teeth, but it should never be used in place of flossing.
6. Make an on-the-Go Tooth Brushing Kit
Create a cleaning kit to use when you are away from home. You can stock this kit with toothpaste containing fluoride, floss, a floss threader, a toothbrush, and mouthwash. This will make it easier for you to take care of your teeth when you’re on the go. With this kit, you can easily brush your teeth after every meal or sugary drink.
Using these tips will help keep your teeth clean, bright, cavity-free, and healthy while you have braces and long after your new smile has been revealed. For more tips on braces and maintaining your oral health, contact the orthodontic team at Fravel Brewer Orthodontics.
Fravel and Brewer Orthodontics has been helping patients achieve beautiful smiles as the preferred orthodontist in Winter Garden, Ocoee, and West Orange County, Florida for almost 30 years. Treatment options for kids and adults include Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, ceramic braces, and silver braces. Call us at (407) 656-0001 to schedule a free consultation today!