How to Clean and Maintain Dental Braces
Dental braces are made to straighten or adjust the alignment of teeth. It is also the go-to treatment for gaps and improves a person’s bite to achieve or maintain optimal dental health. Also, these orthodontic devices help correct other medical conditions or issues that range from jaw pain and difficulty eating to sleep apnea due to snoring and speech problems.
In order to get the most out of your braces, it is important that you understand how to take care of your braces properly to help them perform their job. Read on to learn what steps you need to take when cleaning your braces and several important tips about its maintenance.
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4 Basic Steps in Cleaning Dental Braces
The importance of cleaning your teeth regularly (and well) is the key to achieve optimum dental health, regardless of whether you have braces or not. However, doing this with orthodontic devices can be a bit tricky, considering that you would need to clean the aligner itself and work around it to brush your teeth thoroughly.
To help you out, here are the four key steps you need to take when brushing your teeth while wearing traditional braces:
Step #1: Get Ready to Brush
When you have orthodontic devices, brushing your teeth needs a bit more preparation than normal. First, you need to remove the elastics and the other parts that can be detached from your orthodontics. This will allow more thorough cleaning of your teeth and braces.
Step #2: Brush Your Braces and Your Teeth
Brush your teeth as you would without braces, but make sure that you use the right kind of tools to do so. You can choose between electric or manual toothbrushes with a compact head and soft bristles.
From there, you can start brushing your braces with the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to make sure you remove the debris and plaque around the pins and wires. Apply gentle pressure and brush in a circular motion to avoid hurting your gums. Work your way through all your teeth by tilting the brush to adjust to the smaller teeth.
Step #3: Start Flossing
If you weren’t flossing before you got your braces, then it is an absolute necessity now that you have them. Floss at least once a day and make sure to follow the instructions on how to do so on the product’s packaging. You can also opt for other flossing products that are specifically made for dental braces, such as the floss threader and the interdental picks.
Step #4: Rinse Thoroughly
The last and final step is rinsing. After gargling with water, check your teeth and braces for any missed spots. You can also use special tools for this step, like oral irrigators or the so-called “water picks” that can get rid of debris around the bands and wires of your braces as well as the narrow spaces in your teeth.
Top Tips in Maintaining Braces
Maintaining orthodontic braces is a piece of cake if you understand what needs to be done and how to properly do it.
- Have a Tooth-Friendly Diet
When you opted to have your braces installed, it’s highly likely that your orthodontist listed down some foods that you should avoid during the treatment. Most of the food items you need to forgo are those that have a sticky or chewy consistency, as well as those that are hard and crunchy.
Drinks and sugary foods that may cause tooth decay and staining are also taboo for proper brace maintenance. Biting habits like chewing on your nails or pen lids should be corrected immediately as well.
- Visit Your Orthodontist as Scheduled
When you get braces, you will be provided a schedule for regular check-ups with your orthodontist. Make sure to follow them religiously to optimize the efficacy of the treatment and potentially reduce the length of time you would have to wear them for.
Sometimes, the tightness of your braces may also need to be adjusted. Broken parts of the orthodontic device should also be taken care of immediately.
- Use the Right Oral Care Tools
People wearing braces are like patients with casts on their limbs — they require special care for the part of their body that is being treated. This means you might also need to go beyond using the typical tools used for dental care.
As mentioned earlier, these tools may come in the form of oral irrigation like water picks and interdental toothbrushes that look a lot like a pipe cleaner. These tools are made to clean around the nooks and cranny of your braces and can remove food debris and plaque more effectively.
A Final Word
Orthodontic braces are more than just a fad — they are devices that can effectively treat numerous dental conditions and the consequences that come with it. Proper care, cleaning, and maintenance of these orthodontic devices are all important when it comes to ensuring their effectiveness in giving you the best smile you can have.
About The Author:
Dr. Zul Paliwalla is the General and Cosmetic British Dentist at NOA Dental Clinic, specializing in smile-related concerns. With over 33 years of experience in the UK, Dr. Zul has successfully worked on and improved many internationally recognized smiles. He is a certified Invisalign® GOLD provider as well and has brought his elite expertise to Dubai not only to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand but also to offer his brand of personalized smile makeovers.