Braces are one of the best ways for you to straighten your teeth, but making sure that new smile of yours is perfect by the time you get those braces off can be a challenge. The brackets and wires can trap food particles from everything you eat and drink, which means that if you don’t keep your mouth clean, there’s more bacteria and plaque that will build up and destroy your smile before it even has a chance to be perfect. That’s why maintaining a consistent and thorough oral hygiene routine during your orthodontic treatment is essential.
Here are five helpful tips that are sure to keep your mouth clean so you can have a new smile that truly shines:
Use Proper Brushing Technique
Brushing is the core of any good oral hygiene routine, but without proper technique, you’ll be leaving behind a lot more food particles and bacteria on your teeth than you think. Especially with your braces brackets creating new, hard-to-reach pockets of bacteria, brushing the right way could make the difference between a great smile,and one with a bunch of cavities. If you’re not sure if you’re brushing the right way, just follow this step-by-step guide.
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle so the bristles point toward your gum line.
- Move the brush in small circles over each tooth and along the gum line.
- Repeat circular brushing motions for both the front side and back side of your upper and lower rows of teeth.
- Change to back and forth brushing motions for the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
- Brush your tongue gently to clear away built up bacteria.
Remember that it is recommended that you brush your teeth for two whole minutes. Taking your time and not brushing in a rush helps ensure a perfectly clean smile. To make sure you hit that two-minute mark, you can use a timer. You can also make 10 circles with your brush for every tooth.
Use a Floss Threader
The moment you try to floss with your braces, you’ll notice one big glaring problem in the way: the archwire. Getting your floss under the archwire can be a hassle, but using a floss threader can help make cleaning the space in between your teeth a breeze. Just get yourself a floss threader and follow these steps:
- Take out a thread of floss (about one to 1.5 feet)
- Push the floss through the loop of the floss threader
- Slide the floss threader in between the archwire and your teeth
- Pull the floss threader until the floss is behind the archwire
- Floss your teeth all the way down to your gums with an up and down motion
- Pull on the floss threader to remove the floss and repeat the process for each tooth
While you should be brushing your teeth at least two times a day, you only have to floss at least once per day. With that said, flossing more often is always good too, because bacteria in those spaces will never get a chance to damage your teeth.
Use an Interdental Toothbrush
Even with great brushing and flossing, cleaning the teeth around your brackets or archwire can still be challenging. To make sure nothing is hiding in those hard to reach places, you can use a special tool called an interdental toothbrush, or proxabrush, which has tiny bristles attached to a small wire, designed specifically for going where your toothbrush and floss can’t. Once you get your hands on one, just follow the steps below:
- Push the bristle tip into the hard-to-reach areas around brackets and archwire using a back and forth motion
- Rinse the bristles off with warm water after you clean around each tooth
- Repeat the process for each bracket
Clean With a Water Flosser
Water flossers may still be fairly new to the oral hygiene scene, but they are quickly becoming an effective tool for anyone who wants to have a cleaner smile. Most water flossers even come with a special orthodontic tip attachment that has tiny bristles for cleaning around brackets and wires, while using a powerful stream of water to blast away plaque. To make sure you get the most out of your water flosser, just follow these steps:
- Attach the orthodontic tip to the flosser
- Fill the water reservoir with lukewarm water (you can even mix in a small amount of mouthwash)
- Lean over the sink and put the water flosser tip into your mouth.
- Turn on the water flosser and guide top across your braces and along your gum line to clear away food particles and plaque buildup, letting the water fall out of your mouth into the sink.
- Continue process until water reservoir is empty.
Visit Your Dentist & Orthodontist for Regular Check Ups!
Our final oral hygiene tip is one that is less of a suggestion and more of a reminder. When you have braces, make sure you always go to your regular check ups with both your orthodontist and your dentist. By coming to see Dr. Kopicki, we can make sure that your treatment is proceeding as efficiently as possible. Seeing your dentist for a regular teeth cleaning will also help keep your mouth nice and clean. If you need to schedule your next visit with us here at Germantown Orthodontics, just contact us and a member of our team will be happy to help you!
Keeping your teeth in tip-top shape is hard job, and having braces only adds to the challenge of maintaining great oral hygiene. By using the five tips above, you are sure to have a new smile that shines bright.