Millions of people use traditional metal braces to get a straighter smile.
Braces are an efficient way to correct your bite, close gaps in your teeth, and straighten crooked or crowded teeth, but they have their drawbacks. They take some time to adjust to and they’re more noticeable than clear aligners. They’re also more difficult to clean.
While it’s essential to keep your teeth and gums clean when you have braces, it can feel cumbersome to have to try harder to properly brush your teeth and weave floss in and out of your wires. The good news is that, with the following tips, you can keep your teeth squeaky clean even when receiving orthodontic treatment. The result? A stunning smile when you get your braces off!
Consider Your Toothbrush
Brushing your teeth when you have metal braces can cause the bristles on your toothbrush to fray and wear out faster, especially if you’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush. It can be hard to actually reach your teeth with a manual toothbrush, making you feel as though you’re brushing your brackets and wires instead of your pearly whites.
If you haven’t tried an electric toothbrush yet, consider switching. The heads of these toothbrushes are smaller and can help you make more contact with your teeth, but their high speed also helps remove more plaque. In fact, research shows that electric and sonic toothbrushes may be better picks for people with braces.
What is a sonic toothbrush? It’s similar to an electric toothbrush but puts out more strokes per minutes, which can clean your teeth better. It all depends on your preferences, but electric toothbrushes in general are more effective at cleaning teeth.
If you do choose to use a manual toothbrush, just be mindful that you may need to replace it more often due to the bristles wearing out as a result of brushing metal every day!
Interdental Cleaners Are Your Friend
Interdental cleaners include any device that’s designed to help you clean in-between your teeth. Yes, this includes floss! Both people who have braces and people who don’t take advantage of interdental cleaners to help them properly clean their teeth.
These devices can help you “brush” between teeth and can make threading floss through your wires easier. Flossing is more challenging for people who have metal braces, but it’s crucial to clean out food from between your teeth, which not only increases your chances of oral disease, but can cause chronic bad breath.
So what are the best interdental cleaners to use for people with braces?
- Water floss. Some research shows water flossers—which use a stream of water to clean in-between your teeth—are especially beneficial for those who wear orthodontia.
- Floss threaders. These devices help you thread floss between your orthodontia to properly reach your teeth and floss them.
- Interdental brushes. These tiny brushes are designed to make it easy for you to get underneath your wires and properly brush your teeth and brackets. While these can be valuable tools, be sure to use them in addition to your regular brushing routine, not in place of it!
If you’re having trouble cleaning your teeth with interdental cleaners, ask your dentist in Asheville for some recommendations during your next checkup!
Mouthwash Could Be Helpful
If you don’t regularly use mouthwash, it could be a helpful addition to your oral care routine while receiving orthodontic treatment. Mouthwash can help reduce plaque and support your brushing and flossing habits, leaving you with a cleaner smile.
There are different types of mouthwashes, and some contain fluoride which can help reduce your risk of tooth decay. If you’re considering adding a mouthwash to your routine to help you better clean your smile with braces, ask your Asheville dentist which one would be best for you!
Not only does sugar cause cavities, but it can increase the amount of plaque in your oral cavity, which can make cleaning your teeth with braces that much harder. Even if some foods are more difficult to eat with braces, it’s important to eat healthy as much as possible.
Eating healthy foods will help keep your teeth healthy and strong as well as make it easier to clean your teeth! Some healthy foods that are also braces-friendly include:
- Soft fruits such as bananas, melons, grapes, berries, avocado, and oranges.
- Eggs, as they can be scrambled or hard-boiled to make them easier to eat
- Smoothies with fresh fruits and vegetables
- Healthy soups beans and vegetables
- Steamed vegetables
- Fish, as it’s softer than other hard-to-chew meats
- Yogurt or other soft cheeses (go for plant-based if you avoid animal products!)
If you love eating foods that braces make difficult to enjoy, such as apples or corn on the cob, you can still enjoy these foods—simply cut up the apple or enjoy applesauce, or “shave” the corn off the cob to eat. Don’t let braces limit your healthy food options!
Keep Your Dental Cleaning Appointments
Your dentist in Asheville is going to be your partner in caring for your teeth while you have your braces. While you can do the best job possible keeping your teeth clean at home, it’s difficult to remove everything even with the right tools. By keeping your dental exam and cleaning appointments every six months—or as recommended by your dentist—you can keep your teeth squeaky clean throughout your treatment with your braces!
Keeping your teeth clean with braces is more than about having a fresh, healthy smile. Depending on how long your orthodontic treatment time is (with the average time being around 18 months), you could be at risk for teeth staining around your brackets, which can lead to whiter areas on your teeth once your brackets are removed. By keeping up with your oral care, you make it possible to have a bright, even smile once the braces come off!
When Was Your Last Dental Cleaning?
Have you been keeping up with your dental cleanings while wearing braces? Don’t put off a professional exam and cleaning, especially if you’re receiving orthodontic treatment. Saunders DDS is your partner in oral care in Asheville to help you have a beautiful, healthy smile even with braces. Contact us today by calling us at (828) 277-6060 or let us know what appointment time is most convenient for you by filling out our contact form!
If you’d want to know more, or have questions about orthodontics, we’d be delighted to discuss your concerns. Request a consultation or give us an appointment at (828) 277-6060