How to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene with Braces

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
August 28, 2018

Young female student smiling after she got her braces off

Braces are amazing because they can give you the perfect smile that will make you feel more confident. But they do require extra maintenance when it comes to keeping them clean. Get ready to spend a little more time in the bathroom, making sure that all of the tiny spaces within your braces are thoroughly cleaned of food particles that could get trapped in there and lead to damaging plaque and bacteria.

What are the main steps when it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene while you’re wearing braces? Your orthodontist will be able to answer all of your specific questions and provide excellent, personalized guidance, but we’ve outlined some tips below.

Brushing Is Oh So Important

Brushing your teeth when you have braces is critical. It’s a major step in removing debris and bacteria that could otherwise fester and lead to serious tooth and gum problems.

Experts recommend taking your standard brushing routine up a notch by brushing after every meal, including snacks, so that you can keep your braces as clean as possible and prevent unsightly stains on the teeth. But if you don’t do that, you should at least stick to brushing a minimum of two times a day, in the morning and before bed. In lieu of additional brushing sessions, you can rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash several times a day, as that can help loosen debris too.

A Step-by-Step Approach to Cleaning Braces

  1. Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash to start loosening up food particles that are stuck in and around the braces.
  2. Using an interdental brush, clean in between every set of brackets. This will help brush away debris that could be hard for your regular toothbrush to reach.
  3. Holding a soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45° angle makes it easier to get around the pins and wires of your braces. Brushing from the top to the bottom of every wire will help you remove debris and plaque. Don’t rush the process.
  4. Next, you can brush your teeth by angling the toothbrush at a 45° angle again, but this time at the gum line. Use a circular brushing motion on every surface of every tooth. Be gentle!
  5. Once you’re all done brushing, it’s time to floss. We know it’s annoying, but it’s really important, especially when you have traditional braces. The good news is that you can stick to flossing just once a day, although you could certainly do it more often if you want or need to. Talk to your orthodontist about special flossing tools, like floss threaders, that can make the job easier.  
  6. Finally, it’s time to rinse your mouth with water or some mouthwash. Check your braces, teeth, and gums in the mirror, and you’re all set!

Special Tools Make the Job Simpler

Here are a few special tools that can help make keeping your braces clean a lot easier:

  • Interdental/Interproximal Brush: This is a helpful tool when you need to get in between the brackets, as well as under those metal wires. You might be surprised by all of the debris that you’re able to pull out that your toothbrush and floss would miss!
  • Floss Threader: This tool helps you get the floss in between your teeth, despite the braces being in the way. It basically works like a needle and thread, and it really is a lifesaver when it comes to flossing in areas that are hard to reach.
  • 4 Tuft Interdental Brush: This brush can be useful if you need to get into gaps or spaces in between your teeth. It’s also another tool that you can use to clean your brackets.

Visit Your Orthodontist and Your Dentist!

You’ll need to see your orthodontist regularly so that he or she can check your braces and make sure your treatment plan is set to achieve the desired results (having the right insurance, such as dental insurance that covers braces, can make seeing the orthodontist a lot more affordable).

In addition to seeing your orthodontist, don’t forget to make appointments with your dentist, too. A routine checkup will look for symptoms associated with gum disease and cavities so you can rest assured that your at-home oral hygiene routine is working. And a routine cleaning every six months is a fantastic way to remove anything that you missed.

You’re on Your Way to a Straight—and Clean—Smile!

No matter what type of braces, whether it be metal braces or clear plastic braces, it does require some extra steps. While it might be a little challenging at first, once you get into a routine, you’ll start to realize that it doesn’t take much time at all to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy while the braces do their work.   


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