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Tips for Keeping Your Braces Clean

Tips for Keeping Your Braces Clean

From the moment you hear the click of brackets onto your teeth, you commit to a partnership with your orthodontist. 

If that’s one of our braces experts at Dental Art of South Bay, you’re in for a wonderful experience! Our top-notch dentists, including Dana Samet, DDS, Bethany Jung, DDS, and Alyssa Nowlen, DDS, are well-versed in several orthodontic corrective approaches that coax your teeth into a straight, gleaming smile.

But the braces don’t work without your help. Here’s why cleaning your braces matters, plus five indispensable tips for maintaining a sparkling smile during your orthodontic treatment.

Keeping your braces clean — What’s the big deal?

Keeping your braces clean isn’t just a recommendation; it’s a critical aspect of your orthodontic treatment. 

When you don’t clean your braces properly, plaque and food particles can accumulate around the brackets and wires — the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and enamel staining. 

The bad news is that these complications can extend the duration of your treatment and may lead to additional office visits. 

Maintaining good oral hygiene with braces also prevents bad breath and ensures that once your braces are removed, you have a healthy, vibrant smile that reflects the investment of time and resources into your orthodontic care. 

1. Craft a comprehensive daily cleaning regimen

The first line of defense against cavities and stains is your toothbrush. However, when you wear braces, the process needs a bit of finessing. Here are the basics:

Brush after every meal

Get into the habit of brushing after you eat. You might feel like you’re brushing more than you used to, but it’s necessary now.

It’s all in the angle

Start with your toothbrush angled upward toward your gum line. Use small, circular motions to cover every angle — braces, gums, and teeth included. Make your way to the inside of the teeth and repeat.

Hug your teeth

When brushing with braces, brush the top and bottom of the brackets from above and below. Think of your brushing technique as a “hug” around each tooth.

2. Equip yourself with the right tools

Stock up on braces-friendly equipment.

The right toothbrush

There's no one-size-fits-all method for dental care, especially with braces in the mix. Opt for a soft-bristled or special orthodontic brush — both are gentle enough to keep your brackets intact. Manual and electric toothbrushes work equally well; what matters most is your dedication to the task.

Flossing fundamentals

Flossing is critical in maintaining healthy gums, but maneuvering floss around brackets can be tricky. Use a floss threader or interdental brush to make the process smoother and ensure no stray food particles are left behind.

Mouthwash magic

Mouthwash isn’t a replacement for brushing or flossing, but it can be a helpful addition to your oral health toolkit. A good fluoride or antiseptic mouthwash can reach areas beyond your toothbrush’s bristles, providing an extra layer of protection to your mouth.

3. Foods and drink do’s and don’ts

Hard and crunchy foods are your braces' nemeses. Popcorn, nuts, and hard candies are prime candidates to damage your hardware, leading to an unexpected visit to our office.

Food that sticks or stains is also on the “no list,” including some fruits, like berries and cherries. Sticky treats, like caramels or gummy candies, can get lodged in your braces and ruin your enamel.

Even without braces, sodas and sports drinks are questionable choices. With braces, their high sugar content and acidity can lead to tooth decay and demineralization. Plus, the fizz can get trapped under your wire, providing a feeding ground for bacteria.

4. Brace for emergencies

Brackets can become loose, wires can bend or break, and rubber bands can snap. 

A dab of orthodontic wax is a decent temporary fix for loose brackets or bands. It prevents sharp edges from irritating the inside of your mouth. 

For loose wires, gently nudge them back into place with the eraser end of a pencil. When in doubt, call us.

5. Keep your appointments

Your relationship with our dentists is for the long haul, so don’t ghost her. Regular appointments are where she makes critical adjustments that move your teeth to the next stage of treatment.

We also professionally clean your teeth, replace any broken or worn-out pieces of your braces, and ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned. Skipping appointments can lead to a longer treatment time and inferior results.

Call Dental Art of South Bay in Torrance, California, for more information on keeping your braces clean and your orthodontic treatment on track.

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