How to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene with Metal Braces
Maintaining good general oral hygiene is important, but it becomes even more important specially when wearing metal braces.
Wearing braces can be a challenge when it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene. It’s not easy to keep your teeth and gums clean with all the wires and brackets in the way. This will result in dental issues such as cavities, plaque, gum disease, and unpleasant breath.
However, by using right tools and methods, and also regular dental check-ups, you can keep your good oral health and ensure that your orthodontic treatment is a success.
In this blog post, we will discuss some useful advices on maintaining good oral hygiene when wearing metal braces. So, keep reading if you are looking for ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy while wearing braces.
Tools and techniques for cleaning teeth and braces
It is a no brainer to keep your teeth and braces clean. Especially when you are undergoing some kind of orthodontic treatment, it becomes a must. But how this can be achieved? You need the right tools and techniques with help of which you can clean your teeth and braces more effectively.
A. Soft-bristled toothbrush
As the name suggests, soft-bristled toothbrushes are gentle on the teeth and gums. They are a perfect choice for people with braces. Braces can create tight spaces between the brackets and wires, making it more difficult to clean thoroughly using a regular brush.
What other things you should consider? Size. Yes choose a soft-bristled toothbrush that is small enough to glide comfortably in your mouth and it can reach all areas of your teeth and braces. Manual or electric brushes both can be used and choice is yours as both types of toothbrushes can effectively clean your teeth and braces.
How should I clean my teeth? Just start by wetting the brush and applying a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Place the brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. Well no need to be 100% accurate in maintaining the angle. It’s just for reference. Then use gentle circular motions to brush your teeth and braces. Pay particular attention to the areas around the brackets and wires, as food particles and plaque tend to accumulate in these spaces.
Be sure to brush for at least two minutes, twice a day, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after brushing. Remember to replace your toothbrush after three to four months or sooner if the bristles become frayed. Some toothbrushes come with marker that shows it’s the time to change the truth brush. Just change it.
B. Interdental brush or floss threader
Interdental brushes or floss threaders are another essential tool for maintaining good oral hygiene with metal braces. These tools help you clean the spaces between your teeth and braces where a regular toothbrush cannot reach.
Interdental brushes are small, narrow brushes that are specifically designed to fit between your teeth and braces, effectively removing plaque and food particles. The size of these brushes comes in different sizes so choose the right size that fits neatly between your teeth and braces.
A floss threader is a flexible plastic tool that helps you thread dental floss between your braces and teeth. To use a floss threader, first, insert a piece of dental floss into the threader’s loop, then thread the loop under the wire of your braces and pull the floss through. Use the floss as usual by moving it up and down between your teeth.
Using interdental brushes or floss threaders in combination with regular brushing helps to ensure that your teeth and braces stay clean and healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment.
C. Waterpik or oral irrigator
Waterpiks or oral irrigators are another tool that can help you maintain good oral hygiene with metal braces. These devices use a stream of water to remove food particles and plaque from your teeth and braces.
To use a Waterpik, fill the reservoir with warm water and select the appropriate pressure setting. Then, place the tip of the Waterpik against your teeth and gums, starting at the back of your mouth and moving forward. Gently guide the Waterpik along the gum line and between your teeth and braces, taking care not to apply too much pressure, which can damage your braces or gums.
Waterpiks can be particularly useful for people with braces because they can effectively clean hard-to-reach areas, such as the spaces between your braces and teeth.
Can a waterpik replace your tooth brush or floss? The answer is no. This is because they do not remove all plaque and food particles from your teeth and braces.
Tips for Brushing and Flossing with Braces
A. Brushing Technique
To brush effectively with braces, start by rinsing your mouth with water to loosen any food particles. Then, put some toothpaste to your toothbrush and start brushing in a circular motion around each bracket, taking care to brush both the top and bottom of each bracket.
Next, brush your gums, the roof of your mouth, and your tongue to remove any remaining plaque or bacteria. Finally, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
B. Flossing Technique
Flossing with braces can be challenging, but it’s essential to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under the wires. A floss threader or interdental brush can help you floss effectively with braces.
To floss with a floss threader, first, thread the floss through the threader and then guide the threader under the wire and between your teeth. Use a gentle sawing motion to move the floss up and down between your teeth and remove any debris.
Alternatively, an interdental brush can be used to clean between your teeth and braces. Gently guide the brush under the wire and between your teeth, moving it back and forth to clean thoroughly.
C. Recommended Frequency
Brush and floss your teeth regularly to maintain good oral hygiene with braces. At least twice a day, preferably after meals. Use floss or interdental brushes at least once a day.
You can also rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash to kill any remaining bacteria and freshen your breath.
Foods to avoid with braces
Eating certain foods with braces can damage the brackets, wires, and bands, which can lead to discomfort and extend the duration of your orthodontic treatment. It’s essential to avoid certain types of foods to keep your braces intact and avoid any unnecessary appointments to fix any broken parts. Below are some foods to avoid:
A. Sticky or Chewy Foods
It’s obvious that sticky or chewy foods, such as caramel, taffy, and gummy candies, will stuck in your braces. Brushing and flossing and other techniques will fail in completely removing the remains of such foods. When you eat these types of foods, it’s advisable to pull on your brackets and wires, which can cause damage and even lead to brackets or wires coming loose.
B. Hard or Crunchy Foods
Foods that are hard or crunchy, such as nuts, popcorn, and hard candies, should also be avoided with braces. These types of foods can put too much pressure on your braces, leading to broken brackets or wires, which can be painful and extend the duration of your orthodontic treatment.
C. Sugary Foods and Drinks
The risk of cavity and tooth decay increases when you are consuming sugary foods and fizzy drinks, such as soda and other sweets. What actually happens is that when you consume sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars, producing acids that can damage your teeth and the brackets on your braces. Try to limit such foods and brush after consumption.
Regular Visits to the Orthodontist
Regular visits to your orthodontist are important because they ensures that braces are working effectively and there is no sign of plaque etc.
A. Importance of Check-ups and Adjustments
Regular check-ups and adjustments allow your orthodontist to check the alignment of your teeth and adjust the wires and brackets as needed to keep your teeth moving in the right direction. If they notice any signs of plaque, they can provide you with additional tools or tips for maintaining good oral hygiene.
Missing or delaying appointments can prolong your treatment time and increase the risk of complications.
B. Follow-up Care after Braces are removed
After your braces are removed, your orthodontist my suggest you wearing a retainer, which helps prevent teeth from shifting back to their original position. Regular visits to your orthodontist are important because they can identify any potential issues and suggest precautionary measures.
If you’re looking to achieve a healthy and beautiful smile, Family Braces in Calgary can help! Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced orthodontists in Calgary. With our advanced treatment options and personalized care, we can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. Don’t wait any longer, take the first step towards a brighter future with Family Braces.