Keeping your mouth clean is important for everyone, but if you’re wearing braces, it’s essential. Braces can trap food and cause more plaque to build up than usual since they make it harder for your toothbrush to access the teeth. Taking proper care of your teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment is vital to avoid problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Here’s how to do it properly.
As soon as braces are fitted, purchase the relevant specialist orthodontic products, such as an orthodontic toothbrush , anti-septic mouthwash, orthodontic toothpaste and dental wax, which protects gums against rubbing caused by braces. For removal braces, aligners and retainers cleaning tablets are also a must.
Make sure that teeth are brushed four times daily using a soft, rounded-bristle manual or electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, especially after every meal. Take extra care to clean your gums, too.
Fixed braces require extra care. Brackets, bands and archwires create highly effective hiding places for plaque that are very tricky to reach, so cleaning can take much longer. A single tufted interspace brush is especially useful for targeted cleaning around the brackets and along the gum line. If you don’t maintain a high level of oral hygiene you may find that your orthodontist decides to remove your brace altogether!
Don’t forget to floss! Floss should be positioned under the main wire before it’s placed between the teeth. Every day, floss around brackets and at the gum line. Thornton Bridge & Implant floss has a toughened end making it ideal for threading between the gum and wire, alternatively it may be worth considering a water flosser.
Be kind to your teeth and help prevent a build-up of plaque. Avoid sweets and fizzy drinks and stick to more tooth-friendly drinks and snacks, like water and fruit.
Purchase a brace box to protect removable braces when they're not being worn. Similarly, if you’re sporty, think about protecting both your teeth and brace with a sports guard.
Remember to organise spare supplies to take to school or work so you can clean your teeth after lunch. Be prepared - stock up on travel toothbrushes for last-minute trips. If you’re going on holiday there are handy travel packs available.
More reasons to clean
If you need a bit of extra motivation, remember that keeping your braces sparkling clean will protect you from the most common complaints reported by brace wearers:
- Sores from braces rubbing on gums
- Bad breath
- Demineralisation of enamel
All of these problems can be alleviated by using the right oral hygiene products.