We are often asked if your kiddo should have their teeth cleaned while they are in braces. Our emphatic answer is YES, YES and YES! In honor of Oral Health Month in June, we have some tips to share for keeping braces clean and your teeth healthy.
Why You Should Clean Your Braces
It often helps to understand why you need to focus extra hard on cleaning your teeth while wearing braces. Oral bacteria don’t take a break when you start orthodontic treatment; in fact, it’s just the opposite! Instead of only hiding between teeth and around the gum line, oral bacteria can now accumulate around orthodontic hardware and grow into thriving colonies of sticky plaque. This biofilm is consumed and processed by oral bacteria and releasing acid. These germs then collect around brackets and bands and harden into tartar that needs to be removed by your dentist.
It is why you need to pay extra close attention to your teeth in braces, so they are healthy when your braces come off. It is MORE important to get your teeth cleaned while in braces! You don’t want to have your braces removed only to find that tooth decay and gum disease are busy damaging your smile. Stepping up your daily at-home oral hygiene will help ensure your smile stays healthy and your teeth stay bright when the braces are removed. Consider protecting your orthodontic investment by investing in oral tools you can use to best clean your braces: a high-quality toothbrush, floss, interdental cleaner and an at-home oral irrigation system.
Brushing With Braces
No matter how you brush your teeth, using a manual or electric toothbrush, aim for a compact head to reach all the tooth surfaces while you are wearing braces. Many orthodontists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush or powered toothbrush to do the job. Be sure to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle on the gum line, gently brushing back and forth and toward the biting surfaces where bacteria and oral debris collect.
Remember to brush for two minutes every time you clean. Now would be a good time to break out your favorite tunes to brush long enough to be thorough! Brush around all the components of the braces hardware as well as every side of each tooth. Pay extra attention around the gum line, and don’t forget the tongue and roof of your mouth.
Flossing With Braces
Flossing can be tricky to do when dealing with braces hardware, but it’s more important than ever. Floss at least once a day to get rid of oral debris stuck between teeth. To make this job easier, many people have found that using a water flosser (or oral irrigator) can make this task pleasant and effective. Using a water flosser alone however is not enough. We like the interdental flossers (they kind of look like a flossing stick), and using a floss threader can help get the floss under that wire.
So let us help you make sure your kiddos have a beautiful smile after those braces come off. Dr. Greg and Dr. Rachel are both great about helping your child learn how to take care of braces. We want them to have that million dollar Hollywood smile when they come off too!