If you’ve decided to get braces, it’s clear that you care about your oral health. Teeth that are properly aligned will be so much easier to keep clean. But whether you’re a child, teen, or one of the 25% of brace users who are adults, you need to know how to care for your braces in the meantime.
Brace care is not difficult, but it does require some commitment. After all, you’re going to have something out of the ordinary in your mouth for an extended period of time.
Our braces care checklist is going to help you keep your teeth and braces gleaming from day one. Read on to find out more.
First Step: Know Your Braces
There are two main types of braces available today.
Traditional style braces use brackets that attach to the teeth and wires to move the teeth into their new positions. Although the technology may be well established, they now come in much more flattering styles.
Ceramic braces are almost invisible. Miniature silver braces are much less conspicuous than older styles.
If you have permanent braces, it’s important to establish a good braces care routine. You can’t remove them to clean them or your teeth, so you need to learn a couple of simple techniques to ensure you clean all parts where bacteria could lurk.
The second option is clear aligners, such as Invisalign.
Invisalign uses a series of custom aligners to gradually move your teeth into their new positions. They are easy to clean and it’s easy to keep your teeth clean with this system. They’ve been popular for adult orthodontics for a while and are now a great option for teens and kids as well.
Caring for Invisalign Aligners
With Invisalign, you can remove your aligners to eat, drink, and clean your teeth. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t need care and attention. Your Invisalign braces care routine is:
- Remove your aligners and brush your teeth thoroughly
- Floss your teeth
- Clean your aligners using toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Make sure you get into all parts of the aligner to remove any hidden bacteria
- Thoroughly rinse your aligner and put it back in
You should brush your teeth and clean your aligner every time you remove them. It’s especially important to do this after each time you eat as well as first thing in the morning and before you go to bed.
Now let’s explore how to clean braces that use traditional brackets and wires.
Next Step: Get the Right Equipment
Although you can buy a v-shaped toothbrush to clean your braces, this isn’t strictly necessary. The braces cleaning tools you will need are:
- Soft, round-bristled toothbrush – preferably electric
- Fluoride toothpaste
- Floss for braces – a waxed variety
- Floss threader
You can successfully clean your braces using a manual toothbrush. But as your orthodontist in Glenview, IL will tell you, an electric toothbrush can perform up to 7,000 strokes per minute. Sonic toothbrushes can go as high as 30,000.
This high-frequency action is particularly good for blasting out food particles that are very hard to reach.
Third Step: Brush for Success
Begin by thoroughly rinsing your mouth with water to dislodge any large food particles.
Load your brush with toothpaste and start brushing along the bottom edge of your top teeth. Go in at a 45° angle and allow the bristles to go under the wire and around each bracket. Take your time, giving attention to each tooth individually.
Repeat this from the top down, again getting in behind the wire and cleaning the fronts of the teeth thoroughly. Repeat the process for the bottom teeth.
Finally, carefully brush the backs of both sets of teeth. After rinsing, your teeth and braces should be gleaming. Take a close-up look at them.
If there are any dull or discolored parts, go back over them again until they come up clean.
Fourth Step: How to Floss with Braces
Flossing with braces may seem daunting, but it’s easy if you use a floss threader and waxed floss.
The floss threader looks like a soft needle, with a space for you to thread the floss through. It’s important to get behind the wire and floss each tooth from that point. If you go from below the wire, you’re more likely to poke your gums and cause irritation to them.
If you find this too challenging, a water flosser can help. You can place the nozzle right where you want to direct the water. It can get in between the teeth and clean around brackets and wires with ease.
Fifth Step: Maintenance On the Go
It’s important to clean your teeth after every meal when you have braces. Get in the habit of taking your toothbrush with you when you go to work and school. But if it’s impossible to clean your teeth right away, at least rinse your mouth with water or preferably mouthwash and clean them as soon as you get home.
Sixth Step: Regular Checkups
When you get braces in Glenview, IL, your orthodontist will schedule regular checkups. They’ll adjust your braces and will also check the state of your teeth and gums.
If they notice anything is amiss, they’ll help you to correct your braces care routine to avoid any problems such as tooth decay from developing.
Seventh Step: Protect Your Braces
Calling all sports fans! If you love contact sports like football, soccer, and basketball, you need to protect those braces. That means getting a mouthguard and wearing it every time you play sports.
Also, be careful while wearing your braces. For kids and teens, that means cooling off on roughhousing for a bit.
We know, it’s not much fun. But it’s way better than your teeth, braces, or both getting damaged while you play. Preventing damage to your braces will save you a lot of hassle for some minor inconvenience.
Final Step: Think About Your Diet
You need to get to know the right food for braces and the ones to avoid.
As a general rule, avoid foods that are hard, crunchy, or sticky. They’re more likely to damage your braces and get stuck in your teeth. Save the enjoyment for when your teeth have completed their straightening journey.
Braces Care Checklist: The Key to Good Oral Health
We hope that this braces care checklist will give you the confidence to keep your braces and teeth in great condition. Talk to your orthodontist in Glenview, IL if you have any questions or concerns about keeping up with this routine. they’ll give you the support and advice you need.
Whether you want braces or Invisalign in Vernon Hills, Graber and Gyllenhaal is the place to go. Our team is ready to advise you on the right option to help you achieve your smile goals.
Contact us today to schedule your first appointment!