Keeping braces clean – it’s easy once you know how!

When you have braces, we advise that you shift your tooth brushing game up a gear in order to make sure that you are staying on top of your dental health.

The idea of brushing your teeth for two minutes, two times a day is something that has been drummed into us all and for good reason. Plaque is a substance that builds up on our teeth daily. When food, saliva and fluids combine, they create ‘bacterial deposits’ which build up between teeth. In order to make sure that bacteria doesn’t lead to tooth decay, gum disease or tartar build up, it needs to be removed regularly with brushing and flossing. But what happens when you add extra components to the mouth such as metal wires and brackets for tooth straightening?

Essentially, when you have orthodontic treatment, there are more surfaces inside your mouth to think about. If you imagine that teeth have five surfaces (front, back, top and sides), when you add brackets and wires into the mix, you have few more nooks and crannies to get around. In order to keep things clean and avoid trapped food hanging around, our team recommend that patients clean their teeth a little more frequently. With this, we advise that patients make up a ‘travel pack’ which contains tooth paste, a brush, some mouth wash, floss and wax for when out and about or at work.

There are also a number of handy tools, which can be really effective in cleaning around those hard to reach areas but only as an addition to using a toothbrush, electric or manual toothbrushes can be used and are as effective when used properly.

Inter dental brushes: The most famous brand of these is called ‘Tepe’ although there are other makes. These little brushes are ideal for getting between gaps in teeth and underneath wires. They come in varying sizes, shapes and textures and are used by gently inserting the brush into the space between teeth at gum level and rinsed between uses. These are especially effective with lingual braces, which are placed behind the teeth.

Thread through dental floss: Oral B makes a version of this called ‘Super floss’. Instead of the dental floss coming in a long roll, each piece is produced separately. With a waxed, rigid end and softer centre, the floss is used by threading through the gaps in the teeth from front to back. This is another effective way of getting into the spaces above the wire, between teeth and removing any old food debris.

Whichever method you choose to use, cleaning between the teeth regularly will help prevent bacteria build up and the early stages of gum disease. For patients at our clinic, our team is at hand to advise and teach patients the best way to clean their teeth whilst having orthodontic treatment. We also recommend that patients book into to see their hygienist at least once during their treatment for a professional clean and check of their tooth and gum health.

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