Braces help to straighten and correct teeth but having these can be a bit of a nightmare as it can make cleaning your teeth difficult and most people don’t know how. It might be tempting to just leave it until your braces come off but a lot of food particles can get lodged causing plaque buildup and decalcification.
That causes teeth to become more sensitive, prone to decay and show white spots when braces come off. This is why it’s important to know how to clean teeth with braces.
In addition to this, you also need to know how to keep braces clean as bacteria and germs on braces can spread to the surfaces of your teeth. As a result, yes, you’ve guessed it – plaque builds up.
Cleaning teeth with braces needn’t be difficult but it will take a bit more time which will show some very effective results when those braces come off. Our tips will show you what needs to be done and how effective they can be if followed properly.
Tips For Keeping Braces Clean
Cleaning your teeth with braces isn’t that much more different to cleaning without them. You still have to replace your toothbrush every 3 months although it might be earlier than that at times because the braces wears the bristles down quicker and you should still be brushing for at least 2 minutes.
Every part of your teeth still needs to be brushed even if the braces are in the way. You just need to learn how to clean teeth with braces and keep them clean using a few simple tips.
1. Rinse Your Mouth After Each Meal
Although it’s more ideal to brush your teeth after each meal, this isn’t always possible for some people. The next best thing that can be done is to at least rinse your mouth out with water. Swish the water around your mouth well ensuring you reach every corner before spitting it out.
2. Use A Specialised Toothbrush
A toothbrush that’s been designed specifically for cleaning teeth with braces will make it a lot easier to get in between the teeth and the braces. They are designed with an innovative 2 level filament design where one is shorter than the other. Whilst the long bristles clean along the teeth and gumline, the shorter one cleans the braces and tooth surface around it.
3. Use Warm Water
Before you begin to brush, it’s a good idea to rinse your mouth with warm water to help soften the gums. This makes it easier to clean along the gumline and rinsing your mouth helps to loosen food lodged in and around the braces.
4. Brush At A 45 Degree Angle
You may have already been told when brushing your teeth, your toothbrush should be angled at 45 degrees at the gumline. This is also how to clean teeth with braces but it also requires the same to be done for the brackets of the braces.
The toothbrush should be placed on top of each bracket at the same angle but downwards and slowly brushed. Then it should be repeated on the bottom of each bracket but with the toothbrush angled upwards.
This ensures the teeth surfaces and debris beneath the braces are cleaned and it’s how you can keep braces clean too. If you can see the edges of the brace brackets and they are shiny, then you’ve done a good job.
5. Brush The Braces
In addition to brushing the top and bottom of the brace brackets, brush directly on the braces. Brush in small circles and aim to spend at least 30 seconds on each bracket. This is how you should be keeping braces clean properly.
6. Avoid Brushing Too Hard
Gentle brushing is all that needs to be done when cleaning teeth with braces. It’s the same as if you don’t have braces. Brushing too hard can cause damage to the braces and will delay the treatment time as well as possibly causing damage or pain to teeth and gums.
As your dentist might have already told you, flossing is important and should be an essential part of your teeth and braces cleaning routine. It can be hard to floss with string floss by hand when you have braces.
To make flossing teeth with braces easier, use a floss threader which enables you to pull the string floss through the teeth above the brace wire in order to touch the gum line to properly floss and remove plaque.
8. Use Waxed Dental Floss
Waxed thread slips through teeth more smoothly without catching as there are no loose threads which is usually the case with unwaxed thread. This prevents bits of thread getting stuck or left behind on your braces.
9. Use An Interdental Brush
These brushes are great for cleaning in between teeth with braces and is an easy way to floss. They have a handle with a long thin plastic coated metal brush and come in various sizes from 0.4 to 1.5mm. There are also angled interdental brushes which have a longer handle for harder to reach areas. Extra soft interdental brushes can be used for braces as they have a longer wire.
10. Floss With A Water Flosser
If you find using a floss threader with a string floss difficult or tedious, using a water flosser is another great way to cleaning your teeth when you have braces as the stream of water can get around the brackets and flush out any debris that’s been lodged there.
Clinical studies have shown that a water flosser has been proven to be more effective than using dental floss. More plaque is removed and it increases the overall health of gums. However, it’s more than just point and squirt. For best results you should:
- Fill the tank: You can half fill the tank with fluoride mouthwash and the other half with water as the mouthwash can help to rinse in crevices that a toothbrush cannot reach.
- Use an Orthodontic Tip: If you have a Waterpik flosser, use the Orthodontic Tip which has an innovative tapered brush that’s more effective in removing plaque that’s stuck to your braces and the teeth surfaces surrounding it.
- Adjust the pressure. Start with a low pressure and increase it as you go along.
- Begin at the back of your mouth with the back teeth: Starting at the back teeth is more ideal as it pushes all the debris forward and out. The water flosser should be moved along the gumline towards the front.
- Cleaning the braces: Whilst spraying the teeth, don’t forget to clean each bracket of the braces as you move along. It’s best to aim the water flosser around the bracket as well to help loosen plaque and food particles.
- Spend a bit more time on areas between the teeth and the braces: With the brush on the orthodontic tip, it can be used to lightly brush these areas to further remove plaque and debris.
Learning how to clean teeth with braces isn’t that hard but it just requires some extra time and maintenance. It’s worth the effort and you will see great results when those braces finally come off. Not only will you have straight teeth but they will also be free from decalcification, look clean and feel clean.