While you have braces, it’s important to take extra care to keep both the braces and your teeth and gums clean.
This helps to avoid not only plaque, staining and tartar building up on the teeth and round the brackets, but importantly it prevents early decay (or white spot lesions) forming around the braces or orthodontic appliances. This ensures that at the end of your orthodontic treatment, your teeth will be straight, white and healthy!
Here are the best products that will help you to keep your teeth and braces clean during orthodontic treatment.
A soft toothbrush or small head electric toothbrush
When it comes to keeping your braces and teeth clean, a soft manual toothbrush or small head electric toothbrush can work just as well as each other when used correctly.
A soft manual toothbrush is ideal to brush around each bracket and all over your teeth without aggravating your gums, which could be more sensitive than normal. A small head electric toothbrush is highly efficient at removing plaque from around your teeth and gums, just be sure to use it for the full two minutes to ensure you have enough time to clean all those hard-to-reach spots. When your braces are fitted, we will provide you with a soft manual toothbrush, especially designed for braces. If you need more during your treatment, they are available for sale at our reception.
Non-whitening fluoride toothpaste
As for which toothpaste to use, ensure you select a fluoridated toothpaste, which helps to keep your tooth enamel strong.
We recommend avoiding whitening toothpaste during orthodontic treatment because it may mean that you whiten only the parts of your teeth not covered by the metal brackets. When the brackets are eventually removed, it could mean having small discoloured areas in the centre of each tooth where the whitening toothpaste could not reach.
Even though you have braces on, it’s still important to try to floss between your teeth to avoid the damaging build-up of plaque and tartar and the gum irritation this can cause.
It will take longer and be a bit more tricky, as you will need to thread the floss through your braces in order to reach the teeth. However, this is a vital part of good oral hygiene throughout your treatment, so is well worth taking the extra care and time. Your orthodontist can recommend aids to help flossing such as Reach Access Flosser and Super Floss.
Interdental brushes are excellent for cleaning in between each bracket.
The stick design with 360-degree bristles allows you to reach into the small spaces between and around each bracket and properly clean the braces themselves and the teeth beneath them.
This is extra important as you’ll quickly notice that the space under the wire can trap food and quickly build small mountains of plaque – gross! It’s the trickiest spot to clear and near impossible to clean with a regular toothbrush alone.
A water flosser is a clever device that uses a concentrated stream of water to essentially water blast the hard to clean area around your braces.
It’s effective, comfortable, and easy to use, and while many people use water flossers without braces, those with braces may especially enjoy these perks. The water flosser makes it significantly faster and easier to effectively clean between the teeth, around braces, under the wire, etc.
While water flossers are more expensive than simple dental floss, they can save you a lot of time and hassle during orthodontic treatment. Additionally, if it means maintaining an excellent standard of oral hygiene and preventing decay, this is money well spent! The water flosser is also an excellent tool to clean around orthodontic retainer wires following treatment as well as around fillings and crowns so they are a great long-term investment.
Plaque disclosing tablets
Plaque disclosing tablets can be a handy tool in helping you to see areas around your teeth, gums, and braces that need extra attention when you brush and floss.
These simple chewable tablets will highlight any plaque in your mouth, usually in a bright purple, pink or blue hues to make it obvious which areas need more attention. They are completely safe, and can be hugely beneficial when it comes to self-assessing your brushing and flossing routine. If you have a child or teenager undergoing orthodontic treatment, this can be useful to help you and them check the thoroughness of their brushing.
If you have any further questions about the best ways to care for your braces, contact us at Thorndon Ortho today.