Maintaining oral hygiene with braces is crucial for ensuring a healthy, bright smile both during and after orthodontic treatment. Braces are a significant investment in improving dental health and aesthetics, but they also introduce challenges in keeping teeth clean and free from plaque and decay. Drawing insights from the expert team at Exeter Smiles, here are essential tips and practices for optimal oral hygiene with braces.

Beware of Plaque

Plaque is the most common challenge when it comes to your oral hygiene with braces. Food particles can easily become trapped in the braces’ wires and brackets, posing a risk for plaque formation and leading to white spots on teeth after braces are removed. Additionally, plaque can lead to cavities. To mitigate this, develop the habit of brushing your teeth after every meal. If you’re unable to brush immediately, rinsing your mouth with water for 30 seconds can help dislodge food particles. Brush for at least two minutes, covering all surfaces of your teeth and paying special attention to the areas around and under the brackets.

Don’t Forget to Floss

Flossing with braces might seem daunting, but it’s an indispensable part of oral hygiene. The reason flossing is so crucial is that it removes plaque and food particles from places your toothbrush can’t reach, particularly between the teeth and under the gumline. This helps prevent gum disease and cavities, which are risks increased by the presence of braces. Tools like floss threaders simplify the process by allowing you to easily maneuver dental floss under the wires, ensuring that you can clean thoroughly around each bracket and wire.

For an even more effective clean, consider using a Waterpik or water flosser, which uses a stream of water to flush out food debris and plaque between your teeth and around the braces. This method can be particularly beneficial for those with braces, as it reaches areas that are challenging to clean with traditional flossing techniques.

Avoid These Foods

Diet plays a significant role in oral hygiene with braces. Certain foods can damage your braces or increase the risk of tooth decay and decalcification, leading to white spots. It’s best to avoid hard, sticky, or sugary foods such as:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Chewy candy
  • Popcorn
  • Bagels (unless cut into pieces)
  • Corn on the cob
  • Soda

Foods that patients with braces can eat range from fruits and vegetables to meats to soft foods like pasta.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Regular dental checkups and cleanings are vital for everyone, but they become even more critical when you have braces. These visits allow you and your dental team to monitor your oral health closely, address any issues promptly, and provide guidance on your oral hygiene practices. Staying on track with your appointments ensures that any potential problems are caught early and treated before they can escalate.

Oral hygiene with braces requires extra effort and diligence, but the payoff is a beautiful, healthy smile. By following these tips, you’re on your way to maintaining excellent oral hygiene with braces.

For more detailed guidance on maintaining oral hygiene with braces, consider reaching out to Exeter Smiles for a free consultation. Our team has helped thousands of teens and adults straighten their teeth and improve their oral health with braces.