3 in 10 people brush their teeth just once a day. The dentist-recommended amount is twice a day. But, if you have braces, does that number change?
Most people note that they’re scared of going to the dentist, but the ironic thing is that if you regularly brush and floss your teeth, you can reduce your chances of needing to visit a dentist in the first place!
Of course, if you have braces, then you’ll need to pay regular visits to your orthodontist. And, you’ll want to make sure your teeth are clean for those visits.
Learning how to take care of braces is easy. Just follow these ten tips!
1. Practice Careful Cleaning
Long gone are the days when you could simply pass a toothbrush over your teeth and call them clean. Now that you’ve got braces, you’ll need to understand that there are so many parts of braces that need cleaning.
Because there are so many moving parts and extra apparatus in your mouth, plaque bacteria can build up inside and around the braces. Learning how to brush your teeth with braces is an art, but once you get the hang of it, your mouth will love the extra attention.
You’ll want to start by removing any moving parts, such as rubber bands or retainers. Then, be sure to clean every tooth. To do this, it’s best to brush at a 45-degree angle.
2. Don’t Forget to Floss
Flossing should be a part of your normal daily oral hygiene routine. However, if you have braces, it will become even more important.
Even though you’re brushing more diligently, it’s likely that you’re missing some of the extra buildup because your toothbrush can’t properly reach into the small spaces.
Because there are different types of braces, it’s best to ask your orthodontist about the best way to clean yours. You might also need to buy floss that’s specifically designed for people with braces.
Floss threaders work great for this.
Still not sold on flossing? Flossing leads to healthier gums, and teeth tend to move faster when the gums are healthy.
3. Consider a Toothbrush for Braces
If careful brushing and flossing don’t seem to be working, consider investing in a toothbrush specifically for people with braces.
Every company has their own version of a braces brush, but some of them include features such as:
- Three-Sided Design
- Softer Bristles
- Dual-Ends (with a pick on one end)
Because there are different kinds of braces, you’ll want to ask your orthodontist or dentist about which brush is best for you.
4. Stay on Top of Appointments
It’s really important that you are going to your regular appointments. Usually, these will be monthly.
Aside from tightening your braces and changing the rubber bands, your orthodontist will be able to provide you with a checkup.
If you aren’t properly flossing or brushing, your orthodontist will be able to tell (yikes), and they’ll be able to give you recommendations regarding what you can do better. Some orthodontists might even be able to provide you with a quick, simple cleaning to help remove any buildup between your braces.
5. Eat the Right Foods
Certain foods can not only damage your braces, but they can cause cavities as well.
The sugar in candy, cookies, and other sweets is harmful to your body, but it can lead to tooth decay if you don’t properly brush your teeth after eating them.
The same goes for when you have braces. Traditional braces are more likely to corrode when you let sugary and acidic foods buildup on the wires.
It’s best to stay away from these foods and try to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
6. Use Mouthwash Correctly
Using mouthwash is a great way to get rid of any additional plaque that you couldn’t reach with your toothbrush or while flossing. It’s also a way to fight off symptoms associated with bad breath.
However, if you’re going to do so, you’ll want to use mouthwash for braces.
It’s generally not a good idea to use whitening mouthwash while you have braces. If you whiten your teeth too much, the part underneath the actual brackets themselves will remain stained.
Brands like ACT sell mouthwash specifically for people with braces. This kind of mouthwash will help prevent white spots that can cause unsightly smiles once the braces are off.
7. Keep Essentials Nearby
It’s a good idea to have a bag of all the braces essentials you’ll need when you’re not at home.
Pack this bag full of orthodontic goodies such as:
- Travel Toothbrush
- Dental Wax
If you have Invisalign, it’s a good idea to bring your case with you too.
Having all of these items on hand will make it easier to clean when you’re on the go.
8. Drink Lots of Water
Drinking water can improve your smile. Yep, it’s true!
If you have braces, drinking water frequently can help wash away food and other debris in your mouth.
In fact, some dentists even say that drinking water with fluoride is one of the most beneficial things you can do to prevent cavities. This is because it works to strengthen your teeth.
9. Be Careful with Moving Parts
If you have Invisalign braces or any other apparatus that you need to remove and clean, be careful!
Take care when handling your Invisalign aligners as they are more fragile than they look. When you remove them, clean them after taking them out.
It’s also important that you brush your teeth after eating or drinking anything. If you don’t and then you put your aligners back in, you can risk having teeth and gum issues.
You need to clear the plaque and leftover food in your teeth or else the aligners can push it all back further into your teeth and gums.
Ask Questions About How to Take Care of Braces
The best and most helpful tip we have is to ask questions about how to take care of braces!
If you’re not sure, then just ask. We are a team of qualified professionals who are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of attention and care.
Because we have served so many patients during their orthodontic journey, it’s likely that somebody else has asked the same question you have.
If you’re reading this and are convinced that you’re ready for braces now, then find your location to begin your journey today.