03 Aug 5 Tips for keeping braces clean
Posted by: Jodie Blades Dental Nurse NVQ Level 3
Medically reviewed by: Dr Jill Daus Specialist Orthodontist GDC: 208352
Once you've left the orthodontist's chair, it's down to you to keep your braces clean
Five ways to keep braces clean
Once you have your new braces fitted, you might think it’s time to relax and just let them straighten your teeth and improve your smile.
But once you leave the orthodontist’s chair, it’s down to you to keep your braces clean as they straighten your teeth. The last thing you want is a build-up of plaque. Happy healthy clean teeth move faster than those that are covered in plaque and build up. Plus, if you don’t have meticulous oral hygiene it could lead to early debonding of your brace and irreversible staining or decay.
So, here are our five handy tips on how to keep your braces clean.
5 top tips
1) Brush in between teeth and braces
While braces help improve your smile and your overall oral health – they can also make teeth-cleaning more difficult. That’s because they create nooks and crannies where bacteria can thrive if the area gets missed during brushing. Pay extra care to clean these areas as part of your regular brushing routine.
We recommend you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes. Although if you want to be extra thorough, you could get an interdental toothbrush. This comes with a smaller head that’s useful for cleaning small or awkward spaces. If you decide to get one, clean your teeth for a further two minutes using the brush.
2) Floss once a day
As well as brushing your teeth regularly, it’s also worth flossing. You can thread a special type of floss with a stiff end through the wires of your braces, so you can reach the gum margin and you don’t dislodge your brace wires. And then you can floss as normal and gently remove any bits of food debris lodged in those tricky-to-reach spaces.
4. Consider Mouthwash
It’s worth investing in an alcohol-free mouthwash that contains fluoride. It’ll help to keep your braces clean, which in turn will protect your mouth and teeth.
Just remember it’s recommended you wait at least 30 minutes after brushing your teeth to use mouthwash or even using it at a different time altogether, like after lunch. Otherwise, there’s a chance you’ll wash away the fluoride from the toothpaste.
We also recommend decanting a small bottle and keeping it with your throughout the day in your bag or car so that you can rinse any food debris from snacking.
4. Avoid hard, chewy or sticky foods
There are some foods – especially sticky types – that just aren’t brace-friendly. These include:
- Chewy or crunchy peanut butter
- Chocolate bars that contain caramel or toffee
- Sweets and marshmallows
- Crusty bread
Sticky foods pose the risk of getting lodged in between your braces and your teeth. If they remain there, bacteria could grow and develop in your mouth, and eventually lead to pain and tooth decay.
On top of that, hard foods could dislodge the brackets or wires and damage your braces. This will affect your treatment which can delay your progress, and you might have to revisit your orthodontist to get them repaired.
5) Create a mobile cleaning kit
As well as cleaning your teeth twice a day, you could carry a mobile cleaning kit while you’re out and about. This will come in handy if you’re out for a meal with friends, or you’re working long hours, and need to give your teeth and braces a quick clean.
Your mobile kit could include:
- A regular toothbrush
- An interdental toothbrush
- A small bottle of mouthwash
Go for regular check-ups, adjustments and hygiene appointments
This is best practice for maintaining your oral health regularly. But it’s even more important to go for routine dental check-upsas well as orthodontic adjustments while you wear braces so that your dentist can make sure your teeth remain healthy.
Need more help?
Looking to improve your smile? You can find out if traditional braces are a good option for you with “Am I a Candidate?”
Or, if you already have braces, you can call into Willow Tree Dental and Orthodontic Centre if you need more advice on how to look after them.