Even though they’re often crucial to ensuring a bright and straight smile, braces can often be a hassle. Keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy with the added brackets and wires in place is a more difficult task than it was before, but it’s no less important to maintain great habits. Whether you have a child who’s now experiencing the wonderful world of braces or are an adult who’s invested in improving your smile, here are some tips on how to take great care of your oral health with all that extra hardware.
Brushing with Braces
For the most part, brushing when you have braces isn’t much different that when you brushed without them. You still brush for two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush that should be replaced every three months, although brushing with brackets on your teeth may cause the brush to wear out a bit faster.
The best types of bristles for brushing braces are end-rounded, which means there are no sharp or jagged edges on the bristles. In general, these types of brushes are much gentler on your teeth and gums. Since you’re at a higher risk for tooth decay due to particles and bacteria being harder to clean, your dentist may prescribe a fluoride toothpaste.
How to Floss with Braces
On top of brushing well, flossing is still crucial to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, and the wires that run across your smile can make flossing more of a challenge, but it can be done. It’s really a matter of taking your time and being careful. If you find this too hard, a floss threader may help. It’s a tool that allows dental floss to get underneath the archwires more easily. Also, if traditional floss isn’t working so well, you can try the several different types of interdental cleaners to make the process of cleaning between teeth easier.
You’ll know you’re doing a great job of brushing and flossing when you can clearly see the edges of the brackets bonded to your teeth. If you want to make sure you’re getting your teeth and braces as clean as possible, talk to your dentist about the different products available to help you.