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Learn how to maintain oral hygiene with braces in 4 easy steps
Braces are a commonly-used dental appliance used for correcting teeth alignment. Braces comprise multiple parts, such as brackets, bands, archwires, and elastic bands. All these parts work together to exert pressure over the teeth and gradually shift them into their desired position.
Archwires cover the teeth, and brackets hold them securely in their place. Small elastic bands connect both jaws and facilitate movement. While braces give quick and efficient results, all the machinery makes it difficult to perform basic dental hygiene, such as brushing and flossing. Wires and brackets easily trap tiny food particles and make it hard to floss away plaque. Hence regular brushing and flossing after every meal and snack is the best way to avert tooth decay and gum diseases.
Being negligent towards dental hygiene can have serious consequences, such as bad breath, dental cavities, dental decay, and gum infection. In this article, we have listed four best practices for maintaining oral hygiene with braces. So read on.
- Tiny food particles can be entrapped by brackets, hooks, and wires leading to teeth and gum infections. Regular brushing prevents the entrapment of food particles by different parts of the braces. For thorough cleaning, use short strokes to brush your teeth. Brush in a circular motion around the gum area above the braces and the places more likely to trap plaque.
Dentists recommend using an interdental brush for a thorough cleaning with braces. Interdental brushes are much smaller in size and have tiny bristles all over the head. They can help clean the nook and crannies of the braces effectively.
- Aim for brushing 2-3 times a day, followed by thorough rinsing with mouthwash.
The to-and-fro motion of flossing removes the trapped food particles and any plaque that has been deposited on the tooth structure. Dental floss reaches the hard-to-access areas where the brush’s bristles cannot reach. Flossing with braces can be challenging, so it’s better to use a floss threader or a special orthodontic floss that lets you floss around each wire.
Here is a step-by-step demonstration of how to floss successfully with braces:
- Wrap the floss around the pointer fingers of both hands. Pull the floss from both ends to make the string rigid.
- Using a back-and-forth motion, glide the floss between each set of teeth.
- Glide the floss over the tooth beneath the gum line. This will remove plaque and food from brackets and wires.
- Repeat these steps over all teeth.
Aim to floss 2-3 times daily.
- Teeth with braces require extra care and attention. Rinsing may seem like a simple step, but it makes cleaning easier and protects enamel. Rinsing the mouth properly before brushing help loosen food trapped in the braces. Rinsing your mouth after brushing with an antiseptic mouthwash reduces biofilm and inflammation that can lead to gingivitis.
- Braces limit your food choices, so individuals with braces should be mindful of what they eat. Gluey, chewy, crusty, crunchy, or hard foods such as caramels, popcorn, or nuts can easily get jammed in the wires and are difficult to remove. We recommend you avoid gummy snacks and acidic drinks that can damage different parts of the braces and tooth enamel.
Contact Icon Dental Orthodontics today to schedule an appointment for your orthodontic needs in Seattle or Everett. Our expert dentists are dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatment, from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and beyond. Trust us to help you achieve a healthier, more beautiful smile. For consultations or bookings, call us at (206) 225-2882 for Seattle and (425) 337-2400 for Everett appointments.