How to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene with Braces
Braces are a wonderful orthodontic tool for beautifying smiles and optimizing oral health. The brackets and wires, however, do add a little bit of complexity to your oral hygiene routine. But don’t worry. Although it may seem like a challenge to maintain good oral hygiene with braces, as long as you have the right tools, techniques, and a little bit of extra time, you’ll be able to keep your smile in tip-top shape.
Brush twice daily and floss consistently
We all know that brushing our teeth morning and night is an important part of maintaining optimum oral health. And it’s also common knowledge that it’s important to floss daily. But if these tasks are not done consistently and correctly, we increase the chances of leaving behind food particles, which leads to the formation of plaque and eventually tooth decay. Braces create lots of little places for food particles to hide and get stuck, making it even more important to brush thoroughly and correctly, and to floss consistently. Here are some tips:
- Expect to spend at least 15 minutes on your oral hygiene twice a day to ensure that you’re not rushing through the process.
- Rinse your mouth vigorously with water before brushing or flossing to dislodge as many food particles as possible.
- Brush your teeth in quadrants (bottom left, bottom right, top left, top right) for 30 seconds each to ensure that you brush every tooth, front and back.
- Brush along the gums as well as the surface of the teeth.
- Floss in front of the mirror so you can see your way around the brackets and wires
If you’re having any trouble at all with your brushing or flossing, ask your dentist or orthodontist for help. They’ll be able to recommend tips, tricks, and products to make it easier for you to manage a proper oral hygiene routine with braces.
Use high-quality dental products
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to take care of your braces, but it is important that you use the right dental tools and products that will eliminate the harmful bacterias and help keep your teeth clean. It’s important that you follow the instructions given to you by your dentist or orthodontist, but here’s a general overview of what they’re likely to recommend.
- Toothbrush – Soft-bristle brushes are best. Although standard toothbrushes are perfectly fine, you may find it worth the extra expense to purchase an electric toothbrush, some of which are created specifically for the gentle and thorough brushing of teeth with braces. The best electric toothbrushes have great features like 2-minute smart timers, brush head replacement reminders, and pressure sensors so you know you’re taking great care of your teeth every step of the way.
- Toothpaste – When shopping for toothpaste for braces, it’s important to choose one that contains fluoride, has tartar control, has an ADA seal of approval, and does NOT contain whitening products. Be sure you also choose one with a taste you like because you’ll be using it twice a day every day.
- Dental floss – Flossing with braces is not easy, but it’s crucial. There are a number of different products, from floss threaders to specialized floss picks, that help make it easier. The important thing is that you find a type that works for you and use it every day.
- Mouthwash – Mouthwash may be on your dentist’s list of musts, or you may just want one to make your mouth feel minty fresh. Either way, it’s probably not necessary to purchase specialty “orthodontic” mouthwash because they generally contain the same ingredients as standard mouthwash. There are, however, alcohol-free formulas for young children and those sensitive to the alcohol found in many mouthwashes.
- Oral irrigator – An oral irrigator (water pik, water flosser) is a device that shoots water at your teeth and gum line to remove food debris and plaque. It’s quite good for dislodging particles from the nooks and crannies of braces and from between the teeth. Your dentist or orthodontist may recommend one.
If you’re unsure of which brands to purchase or which specific tools or products are going to best meet your needs, discuss it with your dentist or orthodontist. Not only will they have their own recommendations, but they’ll also be able to share with you recommendations from their other patients.
Contact University Dental for an orthodontist exam or orthodontic treatment
At University Dental in San Diego, we have an expert team of dentists ready to help beautify your smile and optimize your oral health. Give us a call at (619) 582-4224 to schedule an orthodontic consultation today!