How To Maintain Oral Hygiene With Braces

Reviewed by Dr. Matthew Young, DDS

It can be a challenge to maintain oral hygiene with braces. It is essential to take proper care of your teeth during orthodontic treatment. Braces can trap food particles, plaque buildup, and bacteria, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. 

With extra time, effort, and the proper dental care products, you can keep your teeth healthy with braces and enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile. 

To help you take care of your braces and keep your teeth healthy, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to create an effective oral hygiene routine during your treatment with braces.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Good oral hygiene while wearing braces is possible with the right tools and practices. Regular brushing, flossing, dietary adjustments, and routine dental visits are crucial for maintaining oral health during orthodontic treatment.

How To Brush Teeth With Braces

The right brushing technique will help to keep your teeth and braces clean. Here are some tips to help you brush your teeth with braces. 

  1. Choose the right toothbrush: Opt for a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. Consider using an electric toothbrush, which is particularly effective in cleaning around brackets and wires.
  2. Use a fluoride toothpaste: A toothpaste containing fluoride provides extra protection for your tooth enamel and helps prevent tooth decay.
  3. Brushing technique: Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. With gentle pressure, brush your teeth using small circular motions to reach all the areas around your brackets and wires.
  4. Take time: Spend extra time brushing your teeth with braces, ideally at least two minutes per session, to ensure proper cleaning.
  5. Clean the brackets and wires: Use an interdental brush to clean the spaces between your brackets and wires. This helps prevent plaque buildup and gum disease.

How To Floss With Braces

Regular flossing is vital to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, bad breath, and periodontal disease. Follow these steps for successful flossing with braces:

  1. Choose the right dental floss: Opt for a dental floss or a floss threader designed specifically for braces. You can also use regular dental floss, but it might be more challenging to maneuver around your braces.
  2. Thread the floss carefully: Gently insert the dental floss below the wire and between your teeth, taking care not to damage your braces.
  3. Use an up-and-down motion: Gently slide the floss up and down, hugging each tooth to remove plaque and trapped food particles.
  4. Consider water flossers: Water flossers are a great alternative to traditional flossing techniques, as they can easily clean areas around your braces, helping prevent periodontal disease and bad breath.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes During Orthodontic Treatment

In addition to maintaining proper dental care, changes in your diet and lifestyle during orthodontic treatment will help you keep your teeth and braces clean.

  1. Avoid sticky and hard foods: Foods like caramel, gum, popcorn, nuts, and hard candies can easily get stuck in your braces, leading to plaque buildup and potential damage.
  2. Cut back on sugary drinks: Sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, and fruit juices can increase the risk of tooth decay and enamel erosion while wearing braces.
  3. Limit acidic foods: Acidic foods like lemons, tomatoes, and vinegar can weaken tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and sensitivity.
  4. Drink water: Make sure to drink plenty of water, as this helps wash away food particles and bacteria and keep your teeth and gums healthy.
  5. Avoid bad habits: Avoid chewing on pens or nails, biting on ice, and using your teeth to open packages, as they can damage your brackets and wires.
  6. Quit smoking: Smoking, vaping, or using other tobacco products can cause discoloration, bad breath, and increased plaque buildup around your braces.

Regular Dental Checkups

Regular dental checkups are essential during orthodontic treatment. Your dentist will evaluate the health of your teeth and gums, address any dental issues that may arise, and ensure that your oral hygiene practices are effective.  

Regular professional cleaning can also effectively eliminate any plaque or tartar buildup around your braces that may have been overlooked by regular brushing and flossing.

Visit your dentist every six months for routine checkups or as often as they recommend.

Your Dentist in San Francisco, CA

Proper oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment will help to prevent dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you have the power to keep your teeth healthy while wearing braces. 

At Post Street Dental Group, our experienced dentists, Dr. Young and Dr. Seo, provide quality dental care for patients with braces. We offer various services, including routine checkups and professional teeth cleaning, to help you maintain healthy teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment. We also offer ClearCorrect and Invisalign in San Francisco as alternatives to traditional braces.

If you are searching for a dentist in San Francisco, CA, trust the experts at Post Street Dental Group. Call (415) 986-4534 or complete the online booking form to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when you don’t brush your teeth with braces?

Failing to brush your teeth with braces can lead to plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease. This can also result in white spots on the teeth or even discoloration around the brackets.

Can braces cause tooth decay?

Braces do not cause tooth decay, but they can make it more challenging to keep your teeth clean. Without proper oral hygiene practices, bacteria and food particles can build up around the brackets and wires, increasing the risk of tooth decay.

Do braces improve oral hygiene?

Braces do not directly improve oral hygiene, but they do properly align your teeth. Straighter teeth are easier to clean, so oral health is improved. However, it is essential to maintain proper oral hygiene practices while wearing braces to prevent dental issues.

If you are searching for a ‘dentist near me,’ contact Post Street Dental Group.

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