Braces will help straighten your teeth, but it’s still up to you to keep your smile clean and bright! Cleaning your teeth with braces may be a little tricky, but it’s not impossible. It’s vital to maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine. After all, braces can increase the likelihood of plaque buildup, white spots, and cavities.

How do you prevent damage and tooth decay? Our orthodontists in Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, and beyond have broken down their tips for how to clean your teeth with braces.

Pick the Right Brush

Picking the right toothbrush is a vital first step to your dental care! A soft toothbrush won’t irritate your gums, which may feel more sensitive after getting your braces adjusted. However, an electric or battery-powered toothbrush is more powerful and can reach some of the nooks and crannies that your wires and brackets create. Also, electric toothbrushes are proven to remove more built-up plaque than manual toothbrushes.

Don’t forget to swap out your toothbrush or change your brush heads regularly to prevent bacteria.

Brush After Every Meal

Every time you eat, bits of food get trapped in your wires and brackets. Letting food sit there too long will cause plaque and lead to white spots after braces. Get in the habit of brushing after every meal and carrying around a toothbrush. In a pinch, rinsing your mouth with water for 30 seconds will also help dislodge food particles before they cause damage.

Brush for at least two minutes (or even three!), both on the surface and backs of your teeth. Brush underneath and above the brackets, trying to get as much of your tooth surface as possible. A proxy brush will help you reach those hard-to-get spaces beneath your wires.

Don’t Forget to Floss

Flossing with braces may seem tricky, but there are plenty of tools out there to help make it a breeze. We recommend a floss threader. A floss threader gets its name because you “thread” a long piece of regular dental floss through its loop. Then, you can pass the floss over or under your wires to make flossing easier. Floss like normal, between the teeth and near the gumline.

A Waterpik, also called a water flosser, is another helpful tool. It uses a stream of water to clear food debris from between your teeth.

Pick Your Foods Wisely

While almost all of us love popcorn, gum, and soda, these foods can do damage to your braces and your teeth. Foods you should avoid while you have braces include:

  • Nuts & seeds
  • Gummy, sticky, or chewy candy
  • Potato chips, popcorn, pretzels, and hard crackers
  • Soda, sugary juices, sports drinks, and coffees

Other foods to avoid are sour candies and acidic food like lemons. They increase the chances of decalcification, which can lead to white spots.

Visit Us Regularly

Make sure you stay on schedule with your regular dental visits and your visits with our team here at Exeter Smiles! With regular checkups and professional cleanings, your dental and orthodontic experts can help pinpoint concerns early before they grow into serious issues. We’ll also be there to answer your questions so you can move forward with your orthodontic treatment confidently.

Cleaning your teeth with braces is more difficult than cleaning your teeth without braces, but it’s key to ensuring your smile is bright and healthy as soon as your braces come off. The extra effort is worth the beautiful results! If you’d like to learn more about traditional braces from Exeter Smiles, reach out to us for a free consultation! We welcome new patients in Allentown and Reading, PA.