Having braces is nothing unusual for people in this day and age. Quite a lot of children and adults alike may have them recommended. But as common as they may be, they are not without their challenges. Nuisances such as impending speech, getting caught on lips, and catching the food you eat between wires can become all-too-frequent. Cleaning your braces can quickly become a pain.

The Risks of Dirty Braces

While your mouth already contains many hard to reach gaps and crevices in which bits of food can become trapped, braces merely compound the problem by creating even more areas for them to get caught in. The results can quickly be seen.

First and foremost, the sight of dirty braces can be pretty gross to anyone who catches it, and if left unchecked, it can also quickly lead to bad breath. Soon after, the bacteria build-up within the braces can also lead to various gum diseases, the visible symptoms of which include red and swollen gums and discolored teeth. While braces can help re-align your teeth and smile, taking poor care of them can lead to complications later on.

Thus, you can quickly see why it’s rather important to keep your braces clean, and we’ll tell you how:

Brush Often

As a general rule, you should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day: once in the morning, then once again before you head to bed. And this is sufficient for general dental hygiene. However, with braces fitted, you must be much more vigilant. Make a point of brushing your teeth after every meal you have. This includes light snacks such as candy bars, chips, or even the odd piece of fruit.

Once again, this is because food will become more easily trapped in your mouth through your braces. It’s essential that trapped debris is removed as quickly as possible before it starts to cause trouble for your teeth.

Be Thorough

You should also ensure that you get to as much of your teeth as possible. While you may want to focus on the front teeth, since that’s what you and everyone else can most easily see, never neglect other parts of the mouth and braces as well. Always make sure you’re getting behind the teeth while scrubbing, and that you gently clean every part of the braces to ensure you’re removing as much from them as possible. To prevent damage, consider using a soft-bristled brush.

Remove Any Moving Parts

Before brushing, make sure that you remove any loose parts of your braces such as the bands. Failure to do this can lead to irreparable damage. Carefully remove them before brushing, and set them to one side. If you’re really dedicated, place them in a glass full of fluoride-mixed water or mouthwash.

Take Your Time

There’s always a temptation to rush through your brushing. It can, after all, be a fairly tedious process. This is bad practice even if you don’t have braces. You need to be careful and meticulous when brushing your teeth. Try to spend a good ten seconds really scrubbing around each tooth. This ensures that you scrub away any remaining plaque build-up that may have been festering behind the frame, while also giving your gum line a good clean. You should also pay particular care to any areas where your braces touch your teeth – these will need special attention.

Always Be Prepared

Try to get into the habit of keeping a toothbrush and some toothpaste on you at all times. This means that even if you’re out and about, you can still head into a bathroom and quickly clean your teeth and braces after you’ve had a meal, no matter where you are.

Rinse Thoroughly

Rinsing your mouth out with water before and after you brush your teeth, or mouthwash if you have it, can help dislodge any remaining bits of food from your mouth. This makes cleaning easier, and much more effective. While water works fine, mouthwash is better. In addition to acting as a rinse, it will also kill any remaining bacteria trapped in the mouth.

Use an Interdental Brush

While you may try your hardest, there will always be places within your frames that a regular brush cannot reach. Not without learning how to dislocate your jaw, in any event. As such, you may want to invest in an interdental brush. These are brushes designed to slip between the teeth while brushing for a more thorough clean, and their bristles can also fit between your teeth and braces.

Floss Thoroughly

As well as between your teeth, make sure that you floss around your braces too. Especially under the wires. Use this in the event that a regular toothbrush will not work, as floss generally has more maneuverability than a brush, and is abler to get to those awkward nooks and crannies where food is most likely to gather unnoticed. Waxed floss is probably better, as it can slide more easily between the braces and is less likely to fray as used. If a line of floss frays, then fragments may get caught between the teeth or bits of the braces.

Avoid Certain Foodstuffs

When eating with braces, there are certain foods that will cause more damage to them than others. In particular, you want to avoid hard foods as much as possible, such as boiled sweets, hard toffees, nuts, or even apples. These will not only get stuck between your teeth and braces, but can also cause serious damage to the latter. If you must eat hard foods, try to cut them up into smaller portions that can be more easily chewed. Sugary and starchy foods are one such culprit, as they can cause more plaque build-up than other types. One of the other types to avoid are sticky foods such as toffees or gum, as these are much harder to remove than any other varieties. If they do become stuck within the recesses of your brace’s frames and wires, then you will have your work cut out for you to get it all out again.

Visit Your Orthodontist Regularly

While it’s important that you manage your own dental care, never forget to visit the orthodontist regularly for quick clean ups. There will always be spots you cannot reach no matter what you do or what you try, as you lack the tools and expertise in which to do it. Likewise, if you try too hard, you may end up causing more harm than benefit to your braces.
As such, you should always make sure to visit your orthodontist at least monthly (bimonthly at the very most) to make sure they’re  properly cleaned. Your orthodontist will have the equipment necessary to ensure they’re given a proper cleaning out, as well as any necessary repairs or adjustments that might need to be made. In addition, make sure to routinely see your dentist in order to have your teeth examined. This way, you can be aware if you have the potential to develop any tooth decay before it occurs. Premier Smile Center offers a variety of dental services to meet your needs, so if be sure to be making yearly visits to ensure that your smile is ready once it is time to take those braces off.