To prevent decalcification, or white spots, from forming on your teeth after your braces are removed, maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine is essential. Understanding the correct ways and techniques for how to clean braces prevents potential damage to the gum line and tooth decay.
There are several natural strategies to get rid of plaque that accumulates around your braces, and many of the cleaning methods we recommend are products found at a local drug store.
If you have braces, cleaning leftover food particles after eating is essential to strengthening your oral health. Keeping clean braces also helps prevent bad breath and bacteria build up in your mouth.
Most orthodontic treatment regimes recommend that someone with braces clean their teeth each time after eating to brush away food found on chewing surfaces.
In this article, we provide various tips and tricks to keep your braces free from excess bacteria. Additionally, we share what oral health products you should not use when you have braces.
- How to Care for Braces is Critical to Oral Health
- How to Clean Braces with an Interdental Tool
- Hydrogen Peroxide is a Natural Cleaner for Braces
- Using the Proper Toothbrush to Effectively Clean your Braces
- Utilizing Fluoride Toothpaste to Strengthen Your Tooth’s Enamel
- Drinking Fluoride Water to Assist in Cleaning Braces
- Using Waxed Dental Floss to Clean in Between Your Braces
- Killing Bacteria in Hard to Reach Areas using a Floss Threader
- Using a Water Flosser to Prevent Bacteria Build up in Braces
- Eat Braces-Safe Foods to Maintain Your Oral Health
- Help Keep Braces Clean with Regular Dentist Appointments
How to Care for Braces is Critical to Oral Health
Regular checkups at an orthodontic office help ensure your teeth are shifting properly.
It is just as important to follow a consistent flossing and brushing routine to prevent excessive build-up of plaque on braces. These tools show you how to care for your braces on a day-to-day basis.
If you are having problems with your braces, or wonder does vinegar kill bad breath, consult your orthodontist for recommendations.
How to Clean Braces with an Interdental Tool
An interdental brush is a small utensil with cone-shaped soft bristles that make it easier to clean below the braces’ archwire. This tool fits between your teeth to break up bacteria that accumulates on the sides of your teeth.
Using interdental brushes is quite simple. First, guide the bristled end of the tool between two teeth.
Make a gentle back and forth movement at least two times to break away bacteria and plaque. Repeat this step for each tooth to clean the hard to reach spaces in the mouth that flossing and brushing often miss.
Hydrogen Peroxide is a Natural Cleaner for Braces
Hydrogen peroxide is an all-natural solution that provides a way to whiten teeth when you have braces and it’s great when you need to clean partial dentures or a full set.
Hydrogen peroxide quickly passes into a tooth, allowing the liquid to break down complex harmful molecules that reside on a tooth’s surface.
Using hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is a natural cleaner for braces or as a DIY retainer cleaner that can also help reduce inflammation in sensitive gum areas.
Stay away from products labeled as a whitening mouthwash because the whitening ingredients fail to clean the surfaces behind your braces.
To make this DIY denture cleaner or for cleaning braces, mix the measured ingredients in a small cup, and swish the solution around your mouth for at least 30 seconds. Before spitting the solution out, tilt your head back and gargle the mixture for up to 30 seconds.
We recommend using hydrogen peroxide with a 3 percent concentration. Higher concentrated hydrogen peroxide has a greater chance of irritating the gum line.
Using the Proper Toothbrush to Effectively Clean your Braces
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is a critical component of dental health. Cleaning braces with an electric toothbrush is far more effective and covers more of the tooth’s surface than a regular toothbrush.
An automatic toothbrush can brush away more plaque on your braces and gingivitis because of the brush’s circular motion. Put a little toothpaste on the brush’s head and brush your teeth normally.
Make sure you cover all tooth surfaces to eliminate leftover food particles. Maintaining healthy oral hygiene with braces is far easier with an electric toothbrush.
Utilizing Fluoride Toothpaste to Strengthen Your Tooth’s Enamel
An essential part of knowing how to care for braces is utilizing the correct toothpaste when brushing. Fluoride toothpaste uses natural ingredients to help prevent the build-up of bacteria that decays the enamel on your teeth.
Fluoride toothpaste keeps your teeth from breaking down too quickly. This toothpaste allows your teeth to be more resistant to harmful acids from foods and drinks.
We recommend you brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your teeth and prevent damage from tooth decay. Similar to mouthwashes, refrain from adding whitening toothpaste to your oral hygiene routine.
The whitening ingredients will only be effective on the surfaces they touch, which means that the portion of your teeth covered by braces will not whiten, leaving white spots after your braces are removed.
Drinking Fluoride Water to Assist in Cleaning Braces
Adding fluoride to your water is a natural cleaner for braces. By doing so, you help prevent cavities while simultaneously strengthening weak spots on the tooth.
If you are unsure whether or not your tap water already contains fluoride, the use of fluoride tablets or drops offers the same results.
Consult your orthodontist to get a recommended amount of fluoride to add to your drinking water, as the amount differs between locations.
Using Waxed Dental Floss to Clean in Between Your Braces
Understanding how to care for braces using waxed dental floss is necessary to kill bacteria that brushing or mouthwash may have missed. Dental floss removes a majority of the bacteria and plaque found on your teeth.
Flossing helps prevent inflammation on the gum line as well as tooth decay. Give yourself about 24 inches of waxed floss and thread the line in between your teeth and the archwire.
Wrapping the floss around your index finger may help you have a better grip on the material. Glide the floss between two teeth to gently press it against your gums. Repeat the process for each tooth.
Using waxed dental floss with braces is more difficult due to the archwire and permanent retainers you may have.
If you plan to use this technique to clean in between your teeth, expect the process to take around 15 minutes. We recommend avoiding regular dental floss if you have braces, as the line gets caught in the wires.
Killing Bacteria in Hard to Reach Areas using a Floss Threader
Knowing how to clean braces and in between teeth using floss is much more comfortable with a floss threader. A floss threader is a small tool that connects to a piece of floss that helps you navigate around the archwire of your braces easier than with waxed dental floss.
Break off an 18-inch piece of regular dental floss and tie it to the large opening on the floss threader. Next, enter the pointed end of the floss threader between two teeth and pull the floss and threader through your teeth.
Holding the floss threader in one hand and the dental floss with the other hand will help you better control the process. Gently glide the floss on your gums and the sides of your teeth. Repeat the process for each of your teeth.
Using a Water Flosser to Prevent Bacteria Build up in Braces
Cleaning your gum line is simple with a water flosser. A water flosser utilizes pressure and a series of pulses to direct water at the spaces between your teeth, similar to floss.
The pulse of water help gets rid of food build-up and damaging bacteria better than dental floss. Fill your water flosser’s water tank with water from your sink and put the pointed end of the water flosser in your mouth.
Be sure to close your lips while using the machine, as neglecting to do so causes water to splash outside of your mouth. Press the button that dispenses water as you guide the device along the bottom of your gum line and in between your teeth.
Eat Braces-Safe Foods to Maintain Your Oral Health
Avoiding certain foods is another critical step for knowing how to care for braces. Sticky foods, like taffy and caramel, get stuck in braces and become very difficult to remove.
Additionally, hard snacks like nuts and popcorn also break your wires and brackets. Damage to your braces delays the overall time you have to wear your braces.
While you have braces, it is safer to eat soft foods and foods with a lower acidic level. Foods with a lower acidity prevent cavities as well as damage to the enamel.
Although there may be changes to your diet, they are only temporary and help your overall oral hygiene while wearing braces.
Help Keep Braces Clean with Regular Dentist Appointments
Brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash daily are an essential part of preventing bacteria and harmful plaque build-up in your braces.
However, visiting a dentist’s office at least twice a year is vital to ensure that you have not developed any cavities or other oral hygiene problems.
A dental professional removes the build-up of tartar in the hard to reach areas around your braces that you may have missed in your oral hygiene routine. For this reason, make sure you visit your dental hygienist for an in-depth cleaning while you have braces.
Understanding how to clean braces is crucial to prevent cavities and destructive bacteria that cause erosion of the enamel on your teeth.
Regular use of mouthwash, floss, toothpaste, and brushing techniques makes the cleaning process easier for you and helps you maintain a healthy mouth.
Several tools are designed for people with braces to help clean the hard to reach areas around the wires and brackets.
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