If you’ve decided to get braces, you care about how your teeth look. While you have them on, you may be a bit selfconscious about your appearance, but you know that the day will come when they will come off and you will have the smile you always wanted. In the meantime, it’s crucial that you take care of that metal in your mouth, keep them clean, and do whatever you can to ensure that you will have no cavities when the time comes for the big reveal.
Taking care of braces can be challenging. It’s much more difficult than just brushing, and while you have them on, you can’t floss in quite the same way that you did before. However, with the right information, you can keep your braces clean and doing their job. You can still flash a great smile while wearing braces.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about braces care. With a little effort, you’ll be thrilled not only about the end result but about how you look in the process, too.
Choose the Right Toothbrush
To accomplish any goal, you need to have the right tools. Choosing a proper toothbrush is your first step towards excellent dental care, especially when it comes to braces care in particular.
A regular toothbrush can work, but if you have braces, you will be much more successful with your oral care if you invest in an electric one. An electric toothbrush is much more effective in reaching all the nooks and crannies in your mouth. It will reach places you might not be able to with a manual one, and that’s important if you wear braces.
You’ll want to choose a brush that is the right size to reach all corners of your mouth, and that can reach all the way into the back of your teeth. A larger head may seem attractive at first, but if you have a smaller mouth, you may find it difficult to reach all necessary areas.
The type of bristles is also important; you can choose soft, medium, or hard bristles depending on your needs and personal preference. When you wear braces, you will want to make sure that the bristles are narrow enough to reach around the wires and brackets to remove stubborn food particles where they hide best.
Once you’ve found a brush you like, don’t forget to replace it often. The American Dental Association recommends that all toothbrushes be replaced with new ones every three months. It’s easy to forget that the time has come, so consider setting a reminder on your phone so you’ll know when you’re due for a new one.
How to Brush for Optimum Braces Care
Brushing your teeth with braces is not much different from brushing your teeth without them, but everyone can benefit from a refresher. You have likely been brushing your teeth the same way since childhood, and you may find that you have been forgetting certain steps all this time.
Begin by brushing the front of your teeth. The front of your teeth is what the world sees, and when you wear braces, food and plaque can stick around more easily if you’re not careful. Don’t rush; take the time to run the toothbrush over all your teeth several times, and look in the mirror to make sure you got everything before moving on.
Next, brush the back of your teeth. Many people skip this step. The back of your teeth is just as important as the front, and if you are lazy in this area, you will soon experience cavities or worse. Give the back of your teeth just as much attention as you gave the front.
Many people believe that it’s impossible to floss while wearing braces, but that’s not true. The approach needs to be a little different, but flossing is still very important. You should plan to floss at least once a day while you are wearing your braces.
To floss while wearing braces, use floss as normal, but take your time to get it in between the teeth around the wires. Some people find that they prefer floss picks which are already threaded with floss. Many picks have a sharp point on the opposite end which will help you to get those hard-to-reach areas.
If you will be wearing braces for a while, you might want to purchase a water flosser. These are great little machines that spray powerful streams of water in small pulses that can help to dislodge food particles and even plaque build-up. If you use one of these devices regularly, you will find that your teeth and braces are much easier to clean overall.
Use Mouthwash and Gargle with Salt Water
Because your mouth is not used to metal being a part of it, using mouthwash can help keep it and your braces clean. Even if using mouthwash was not part of your regimen before getting braces, you will probably want to incorporate it regularly now. Mouthwash can also aid in removing plaque and food particles and can keep your breath feeling, smelling and tasting fresh.
Your orthodontist probably recommended that you gargle with salt water when you had your braces put on, but this is a good habit to continue along the way. Salt water helps reduce inflammation and soreness in the mouth and keeps bacteria from building up, too.
Take Care of Your Braces
Of course, there are many things you can do to help keep your braces on and doing their job besides keeping them clean. Always follow your orthodontist’s recommendations – he or she is a professional, after all. You’ll want to avoid chewing ice or bubble gum, and you’ll also want to stay away from foods like corn on the cob, hard foods like apples, nuts, and bagels, and sticky foods like caramel. Don’t worry – once your braces are off, you’ll be able to return to all of these things.
It may seem like forever before you’ll get your braces taken off, but it will go by in a flash. Soon the day will come where you will have the smile you always wanted. Until then, to expedite the process, take good care of your braces and follow your orthodontist’s instructions. Remember how important braces care is for your ultimate success. You won’t be sorry!