Dental braces are used to straighten teeth and correct how teeth bite together. Traditional braces consist of metal bands around the molars, brackets bonded to each tooth and wires that extend across the front of each tooth. The wires are held in place by individual elastic bands or connected elastic bands called power chains. It is understandably much more difficult to keep your teeth and gums clean with all this extra hardware. Listed below are five ways to keep your teeth clean and healthy during the course of orthodontic treatment.
Electric Toothbrush and Water Floss
Since there are plenty of areas for bacteria to hide around braces, it helps to use tools such as an electric toothbrush and water floss. Electric toothbrushes generally do better when accessing hard-to-reach areas and take some of the work out of brushing. Some electric toothbrushes also have a timer set to ensure a full 2 minutes of brushing is achieved. Water floss helps flush out bacteria from around brackets and between the teeth and can be easier to use than traditional floss. Use your electric toothbrush at least twice a day and your water floss at least once a day.
Fluoride Toothpaste and Mouthwash
The use of fluoride is a vital way to keep your teeth healthy and cavity-free during braces. Fluoride helps to prevent cavities by strengthening enamel and by halting the demineralization process. Fluoride is added to most toothpaste and also some mouthwash. Without the use of fluoride, your teeth could be left with white areas of demineralization around where the brackets used to be. Use your toothpaste at least twice a day and your mouthwash at least once a day.
This brush looks like a thin pipe cleaner and is used to clean the tricky to access areas between brackets. Due to the archwire, it can be challenging to get your toothbrush right to the gum line between teeth. An interdental brush is positioned at the gum line between brackets and is used in a downward motion underneath the wire. Use your interdental brush at least once a day.
Frequent Dental Cleanings
Lastly, it is essential to have your teeth professionally cleaned routinely during treatment. Some certain nooks and crannies are difficult, if not impossible, to access with your tools at home. These areas are cleaned out, and the health of your teeth and gums is assessed. With braces, cleanings are recommended every 3 to 4 months.
If you have any questions about keeping your teeth and gums healthy with dental braces or know that you are due for a cleaning, please call us today to schedule an appointment.