6 Tools for Cleaning Braces
There’s no sugar-coating the fact that cleaning your teeth when they’re in braces is more involved than when they’re not (and at our office, we don’t like to coat things in sugar anyway). Braces create many new, tiny spaces to trap particles of food while at the same time hindering easy access to areas of your mouth.
But cleaning your teeth while in braces is more important than ever. Tooth decay and puffy gums won’t take a holiday until your treatment is over. We recommend cleaning your teeth at least four times a day, after all three meals and before you go to bed, and it’s a good idea to clean your teeth after any snacks too.
Even though cleaning your teeth when you’re wearing braces is both more difficult and more complicated, it’s not the hardest challenge you’ll ever face in life, and your local drugstore will carry all the tools you need to do it right. Here are 6 products that we recommend:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
Keep these old standbys on hand. Use a soft toothbrush with just a bit of fluoride toothpaste. Make gentle, circular motions while brushing at various angles, and be sure to cover all surfaces: the gumline, behind the teeth, as well as the top, middle and bottom edges of the brackets. You’ll need to replace your toothbrush more frequently than normal.
- Floss threaders or Superfloss
These products have a stiffened end that allow you to thread the floss underneath the wires so you can get the floss between your teeth.
- Dental picks
Dental picks offer another way for you to get underneath your wires in order to clean between your teeth. These plastic tools come in various shapes and configurations, so try out a few to find the one that you like best.
- Proxa brush
Short for interproximal brushes, a proxa brush is like a toothbrush except that the bristles come in a short cone shape. It’s a more precise tool than a normal toothbrush so it’s good for cleaning hard-to-reach spots.
These machines shoot a jet of water at various pressures to “floss” between teeth. Orthodontic tips are available. They can be pricy, but they work more quickly than manual flossing, and they’re quite good at cleaning.
Finish up cleaning your teeth with a rinse of fluoride mouthwash as extra protection against tooth decay.
Exactly which tools to use will depend on the braces you have and your personal preferences. Our doctors will offer you our advice when you get your braces on, please feel free to ask about any problems you might be having if one particular tool isn’t working for you. You’ll eventually get used to the longer process of cleaning your braces. Allow yourself to be motivated by the wonderful, straight smile that’s gradually taking shape.