By Rafael Mercado, DDS on May 25, 2020
If you desire straighter, healthier teeth, orthodontic braces can help you achieve that goal. While at-home oral hygiene is not necessarily more difficult with braces, it does require some additional steps. Dr. Mercado and the team at Castle Hills Family Dental in San Antonio, TX, offer some tips. Caring for your teeth with braces can be easy. Read on to learn more.
Why At-home Hygiene Is Important
At-home oral hygiene is important for all patients, whether they have braces or not. However, orthodontic braces consist of wires, brackets, and bands that can make brushing and flossing a bit more challenging. Without proper hygiene, plaque and tartar accumulate around the brackets, along the gumline, and between the teeth. The longer that plaque stays on the teeth surfaces, the higher the risk for cavities and gingivitis.
Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
Careful cleaning is required for individuals with braces. Prevent plaque and reduce the risk of gum disease with these simple guidelines:
- Brush at least twice a day. When wearing braces, we encourage patients to brush after every meal if possible.
- Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps remineralize enamel and keep teeth strong and healthy. To prevent cavity-causing plaque and tartar, purchase a fluoride toothpaste that has been approved by the ADA.
- Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush. All patients should use a soft-bristled brush, whether they are undergoing orthodontic treatment or not. Hard bristles can damage the teeth and gums over time and compromise long-term oral health. Since braces wear out toothbrushes faster, purchase a new one every couple of months or as soon as the old one shows wear.
- Brush all surfaces thoroughly. In addition to every tooth surface, be sure to brush around every orthodontic component. To reduce oral bacteria, you should also brush your tongue every day.
- Clean along the gum line. Bacteria accumulate in the sulcus, the area where the teeth meet the gums. To reduce oral bacteria levels and prevent gum disease, brush along the gum line every time you clean your teeth.
Flossing Your Teeth with Braces
Flossing is perhaps the most challenging aspect of braces care. But there are special tools available that can help make this job easier. Floss threaders help direct the floss underneath the arch wire so you can clean hard-to-reach areas. Interproximal brushes and dental picks are also available in the oral health aisle. Ask your San Antonio dentist or hygienist which tools and techniques can help you the most.
To boost at-home care, purchase an anti-plaque, anti-bacterial mouth rinse. When combined with brushing and flossing, mouthwash can reduce oral bacteria and improve overall oral health.
Many orthodontic patients also find that a waterpik comes in handy. Waterpiks are designed to remove large food particles from hard-to-reach areas. Just remember that waterpiks do not replace flossing, as they leave behind harmful biofilms.
Schedule a Consultation Today
Oral hygiene is important for everyone, but especially those who have orthodontic appliances. If you want to learn more about cleaning your teeth with braces, reach out to one of our experienced team members in San Antonio. Call us at (210) 405-1257 or contact us online anytime.