WE SHOULD ALL BE happy to spend at least four total minutes a day brushing our teeth morning and evening (and then a few more for flossing), considering how important good oral health is. Braces-wearers might need to take a little more time on it, considering all those extra nooks and crannies where bacteria, food particles, and plaque can hide. Nobody wants their Braces Off Day marred by tooth decay and unsightly stains. That’s why we’re here with some dental hygiene tips for braces-wearers!
1. Brush After Every Meal
You know how easy it is to get food stuck in those brackets, and how distracting it can be to try to clean it out with your tongue. The simplest solution is to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste with you to lunch, instead of only relying on morning and evening to brush your teeth. You might even want to pack some interdental brushes for extra security against food trapped in the extra tight spots. Don’t let a tiny piece of stuck food ruin your afternoon!
The tricky thing about lunchtime brushing might be the matter of how to store your toothbrush. It might be tempting to stick it in a plastic baggie for the rest of the day, but that’s going to result in lots of bacteria growing on the bristles and some funky smells. If at all possible, find somewhere to store your toothbrush so that it can dry out after you use it, even if that means installing a toothbrush holder in your locker or making room for a toothbrush cup on your desk!
2. Floss Every Day
Whether you’re happy with regular floss, you use floss threaders, or you’ve switched to a water flosser, it’s critical to floss at least once a day to keep your teeth and braces clean. We know that it’s tougher to floss as an orthodontic patient with braces than when the braces are off, but it’s worth the effort. Between brushing and flossing, flossing is actually more important!
Here are some flossing tips straight from a hygienist!
3. Steer Clear of Whitening Products
Outside of orthodontic treatment, whitening products are a great way to get the pearly white smiles we all want, but whitening products need to wait until Braces Off Day. Using them while the braces are on can result in discolored patches where the brackets were, a problem that’s pretty hard to fix. Avoid whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes with whitening chemicals, and definitely avoid whitening strips!
Don’t Worry; You’re Not Alone!
We want all of our patients to come to us with any questions about keeping your braces and teeth clean. Either give us a call or ask us at your next adjustment. We want to help you achieve the smile of your dreams, and that’s about more than just moving your teeth into their ideal position.
Make sure you’re sharing your smile with everyone around you!