Cleaning around orthodontic devices can be awkward, but it is essential to keep your teeth clean when you have braces. If you allow plaque to build up in the tiny gaps between the wires, you allow bacteria to thrive, which could eventually lead to tooth decay or gum disease. Here are five tips to help you clean your teeth more effectively and comfortably while your braces are in place.
1. Use an Electric Toothbrush
Dentists recommend using a power toothbrush to clean your teeth when you have braces. The oscillating movement of the brush helps to loosen plaque from your teeth and sweep it away. Most electric toothbrushes also contain timers, so you can be sure that you are brushing for the recommended two minutes every morning and evening.
2. Use an Orthodontic Brush Head
Many electric toothbrush brands offer orthodontic brush heads, which are designed to reach between the wires of fixed braces to remove dental plaque. Toothbrush heads need to be replaced once every three months, so be sure to invest in enough brush heads to see you through your treatment.
3. Be Gentle
When you first get your braces fitted, your gums may feel sore. Using the sensitive mode on your electric toothbrush can help you avoid irritating them further. You may want to stick with this mode throughout your orthodontic treatment, as applying too much pressure can bend the wires out of shape. If your electric toothbrush has a pressure sensor, pay close attention to this feature to ensure you don't press the brush too hard against your teeth.
4. Use Interdental Brushes Instead of Floss
Flossing your teeth is more important than ever when you have braces, as particles of food trapped between your teeth can contribute to gum disease, which may affect your treatment. However, fixed braces make using string floss very difficult. Get a more convenient clean by using interdental brushes instead of string floss to clean between your teeth.
5. Try a Water Flosser
Interdental brushes aren't for everyone. Some people's teeth are too tightly packed to allow the bristles of the brush to slide between them. If string floss and interdental brushes aren't working for you, consider investing in a water flosser. This device uses high-pressure water jets to drive food and plaque from the gaps between your teeth, which can be a comfortable and convenient alternative to flossing when you have braces.