Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for everyone, but it becomes even more important when you’re wearing braces. Braces can trap food and plaque, leading to a higher risk of cavities and gum disease if not properly cared for.

Here are some essential oral hygiene tips for people with braces to ensure a healthy, beautiful smile once the braces come off.

1. Brush After Every Meal

Brushing your teeth after every meal might seem excessive, but when you have braces, it’s necessary. Food particles can easily get stuck in the brackets and wires, potentially leading to decay and plaque buildup.

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and brush gently at a 45° angle to the gums. Pay special attention to the areas around the brackets where food can be hidden.

Opt for toothbrushes with V-shaped bristles for easier access to gums and enamel around the brackets, or invest in an ultrasonic electric toothbrush for more efficient plaque removal.

2. Floss Daily

Flossing with braces can be challenging, but it’s essential to your oral hygiene routine. Ensure you floss gently to avoid damaging your braces or gums. Begin by threading waxed floss under the wire of your braces. Gently guide the floss between teeth, moving it up and down to remove debris. Be careful not to snap the floss, which can damage wires or brackets.

Special orthodontic floss threaders are available that make flossing under the wire of your braces easier. Alternatively, use a water flosser that uses water jets to flush food particles and bacteria from hard-to-reach places. Remember, the key to effective use is to aim the water flow at the gum line and around the brackets, not directly at the teeth.

3. Use an Interdental Brush

An interdental brush, also known as an interproximal brush, is a small brush designed to clean between your teeth and around your braces. This tool can reach places that your regular toothbrush can’t, helping to remove food particles and plaque.

4. Rinse with Mouthwash

Using fluoride mouthwash can help remineralize and strengthen your teeth to prevent cavities. Rinse your mouth after brushing and flossing for at least 30 seconds to wash away any remaining food particles and bacteria.

5. Regular Dental Check-ups

While you need to attend orthodontic visits every six to eight weeks to have your braces adjusted, you also need to visit your dentist throughout your treatment. Regular dental check-ups are crucial when you have braces. Your dentist can monitor your oral health and provide professional cleanings to remove stubborn plaque or tartar that cannot be removed with brushing alone.

6. Watch Your Diet

Certain foods can damage your braces or get stuck in them. Avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods like nuts, popcorn, gum, and caramel. Also, limit sugary foods and drinks, as they can contribute to tooth decay.

7. Use a Fluoride Gel

A fluoride gel can provide extra protection against cavities, especially for those with braces. Apply the gel after brushing and flossing at night, and let it sit on your teeth overnight.

Fluoride gel is also effective at preventing white spots on your teeth after the braces are removed. White spot lesions are areas of localized decay and can be permanent without treatment. Fluoride gel helps repair teeth damaged by decay.

Embrace Your Braces with Confidence and Proper Care

If you’re looking for professional dental care and advice on maintaining oral hygiene with braces, A Dental Place can help. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing the highest quality care for all your dental needs.

If you’ve been prescribed braces, ask your dentist if you are a candidate for ClearCorrect aligners. These removable transparent retainers are customized for your smile. You can maintain your normal oral hygiene routine because they can be removed.

Schedule your appointment today, and let us help you maintain your oral health and keep your smile looking its best.