Keeping your teeth clean and sparkling with braces is a difficult task, to say the least. It seems many believe it’s either impossible or close to it to keep clean, bright teeth and healthy gums with wearing braces. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! Use these tips and tricks to keep a clean, bright healthy smile while wearing braces:
Properly brushing with braces is a combination of spending a proper amount of time doing it, and using an effective technique. Remember – people with braces have to brush and floss differently than people who don’t.
Angle your toothbrush at about 45 degrees to your teeth from the top and bottom sides of the brackets, and quickly move your brush back and forth using small strokes. It’s vital that you spend a minimum of 2 minutes brushing, 2 times a day to get a complete cleaning. It’s also a smart idea to invest in an electric toothbrush, many of which come with specialized heads just for those with braces! This will allow you to really get in between those brackets when brushing. *Note – do not simply let your teeth go unbrushed while you have braces! This will certainly lead to decalcification (or a breakdown of tooth enamel), which presents itself in the form of white spots on your teeth. Remember – once enamel is gone, it’s gone for good!
After putting on a patient’s braces, many orthodontists will immediately hand their patients a pack of flossers and tell them that to floss effectively, they’ll have to thread the floss under the bracket to be able to access every single tooth. And, guess what many younger patients do? Put the flossers under their sink and forget all about them, or just throw them away. After all, spending 10 or 15 minutes flossing is quite the daily chore. Flossing effectively with braces doesn’t have to be that complicated!
A far better option to traditional floss when you have braces is a Waterpik, probably one of the best home oral health products out there. A Waterpik uses a stream of pressurized water to blast away food particles from in between your teeth. Not only are Waterpiks very easy to use, but there’s also been a slew of research to prove their superiority to traditional floss.
Another great option is an interproximal brush, which looks a bit like a an expensive pipe cleaner. Buy the smallest one you can find (unless you have large spaces in between your teeth), and gentle push the tip of the bush in between and around your teeth, to go over all those little areas your toothbrush just couldn’t reach.
Foods to Avoid
While this advice applies to everyone, those with braces should particularly avoid constantly snacking on sugary foods, carbs such as chips or crackers, and drinking sugary or acidic drinks, which includes diet sodas as well!
Remember those white spots on your teeth that signify destroyed enamel from earlier? If you eat or drink enough sugary, carb-loaded snacks, these will likely develop no matter how well you brush and floss!
See your Dentist Regularly
Remember to get in and see your dentist every 6 months. Your dentist will have tools that allow them to thoroughly clean around your braces, particularly in those difficult spots where tartar is bound to build up. They’ll also be able to detect decalcification or gingivitis early on, so you can correct it before it becomes a huge issue. If you or your dentist knows that you develop cavities faster than others, talk to your dentist about prescription toothpastes that contain extra fluoride!