Maintaining oral hygiene with braces

If you wear braces, you’re probably used to getting food stuck in them. That’s just part of the whole experience. Braces can make it hard to maintain your oral hygiene. You need to take extra care to protect your teeth from staining, decay, and gum disease. Let’s take a look at some easy tips to keep your mouth sparkling clean while you wear braces. 

Brush a lot more regularly

Most dentists recommend brushing teeth twice a day for the best oral hygiene. However when you wear braces, you should brush after eating anything. Yes, even after that mid-afternoon vending machine snack or some late-night munchies. This is because food particles easily become trapped in braces. The longer these particles stay trapped, the greater your chance of developing oral hygiene problems. Use a soft toothbrush or an electric toothbrush if you find it more effective.

Start by rinsing your mouth with water to dislodge any food that is stuck. This will loosen any food that is stuck. Brush your gum line, holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Next, brush at a downward angle on top of the brackets and brush at an upward angle at the bottom of the brackets. Lastly, rinse your mouth again.  

Don’t forget to floss

Floss at least once a day to upkeep your oral hygiene. Ensure that you floss not only between the braces but also under the wires. Waxed floss can glide along your teeth more easily. If you struggle to floss with traditional floss, use a Waterpik for added ease and comfort. A Waterpik is a stream of pulsating water that removes plaque and food debris. 

Add mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine

Rinse with a mouthwash to kill any bacteria missed by brushing and flossing. Braces create all sorts of new hidden cracks and corners for food particles to get trapped in. The great thing about liquid mouthwash rinse is that it targets all those tough-to-get-to spots. Swish for at least 30 seconds to achieve good oral hygiene. 

Watch what you eat

Eating too many sugary and starchy foods can cause plaque to build up, causing cavities or even gum disease. Braces wearers should avoid chewy and sticky foods, such as dried fruits, caramel, toffee, chewing gum and corn on the cob. 

Hard foods are also a no-go. Nuts, ice, popcorn and biltong can break the wires of the braces and loosen the brackets. Even some healthy foods, such as raw carrots and apples, can be problematic because of their hard texture. To enjoy your favourite crunchy foods, cut them into smaller, bite-size pieces.

Ask your dentist for oral hygiene tips

Routine dental exams are another part of maintaining your oral hygiene while wearing braces. At Smith and Van Lierop Dentistry, we have years of expert experience on helping you care for your braces. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’re concerned about your oral hygiene while wearing braces. A check-up will help us identify any oral hygiene issues and give you the correct advice.