Braces are the most effective way to align crooked teeth and enhance your smile. They also come with a little extra maintenance than your typical oral hygiene routine. The brackets and archwires create spots that are difficult to reach with just a toothbrush.
For patients new to braces, a few helpful tips can go a long way toward better oral care. Here are some helpful tips after getting your braces placed!
1. Effective brushing techniques
Braces require a special brushing technique in order to get in those hard-to-reach spaces and prevent cavities. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle with the bristles pointing towards your gum line. Work the toothbrush in tiny circular motions along the gum line and on each bracket. Use this circular method on both the front and back of your teeth. A back and forth motion is best for the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Finish by gently brushing the tongue to further rid bacteria that may have collected on the tongue surface. This brushing routine should continue for approximately two minutes.
2. Use a floss threader
Floss threaders are a valuable tool that make flossing with braces a whole lot easier. They’re made with a soft, bendable plastic and look just like a sewing needle. To use a floss threader, slip a length of floss through the hole. Then, place the floss threader between the archwire and teeth. This allows you to pull the floss through. Complete the process by simply flossing between your teeth like normal with an up and down motion. Repeat these steps for every section of the archwire, making sure you floss between all of your teeth.
3. Interdental toothbrushes are essential
Interdental toothbrushes are designed to reach beneath the archwire and around brackets to clear any plaque your normal toothbrush may have missed. They come with thick bristles attached to about an inch of wire, which is fastened to a small handle. After brushing, use an interdental toothbrush to scrub in those hard-to-reach spots. Also, be sure to rinse off the brush in between brackets.
4. Clean braces with a water flosser
Water flossers—sometimes called irrigators or a WaterPik® have been around for a quite some time, but they’re still slow to make it into people’s homes. These gadgets use a stream of water to rinse away food particles stuck between your teeth. They’re quick to assemble and usually have different settings, ranging from a powerful spray to gentle irrigation. They’re great for thoroughly rinsing everything between your braces that brushing and flossing may have missed.
5. Schedule regular cleanings
Last but not least, remember to schedule an appointment with your dentist at Fioritto Family Dental at either our Mentor or Concord office for regular cleanings! We’ll check the effectiveness of your cleaning regimen and provide additional tips for achieving that perfect smile. From clear brackets to lingual braces, we’re knowledgeable in how to properly clean your teeth—even when braces make it more difficult than you’re used to.