Everyone probably knows it’s crucial to brush your teeth twice a day. With braces and clear aligners, cleaning your teeth becomes even more important…and complicated. To keep your teeth healthy and avoid plaque and bacteria development, you not only need to clean your teeth more than twice a day, but there are also extra steps you should take to keep your braces and aligners clean.
Tips for clean teeth & braces:
- Use a soft toothbrush.
To clean your teeth while you wear braces, it is important for you to brush your gums and the top section of your teeth above the brackets. A toothbrush with softer bristles can help you avoid irritating your gums.
- Brush after you eat.
Brushing out food debris after every meal is important to prevent plaque development. You may consider carrying a travel toothbrush when you eat away from home. If you forget your toothbrush, rinse your mouth with water for about 30 seconds.
- Use less toothpaste.
The more toothpaste you use, the more foam will cover your teeth and hide food debris and plaque. Each time you brush, begin with a wet toothbrush and clean around your wires and brackets. Brush with a precise, picking motion rather than scrubbing. Then, brush your teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
- Brush all areas of your mouth.
It’s important to brush each section of your teeth — upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left — for about 30 seconds each. Don’t forget to spend time cleaning both the inner and outer surfaces of your teeth.
- Don’t forget to floss.
A floss threader or a waterpik can offer an easy way to floss while you have braces. A floss threader allows you to guide the floss through the wires of your braces. Meanwhile, a waterpik uses a stream of water to remove debris.
- Use mouthwash nightly.
Anti-cavity, fluoride mouthwash reduces tooth decay and protects the enamel covering your teeth. Rinsing with mouthwash for one minute each night can also help you knock out any remaining food debris after brushing.
- Gargle saltwater.
Not only can saltwater reduce inflammation and minimize pain and soreness after your brackets and wires have been adjusted, but it can also act as a cleaning agent.
- Stay away from specific foods.
Although you may have to give up some of your favorite foods for a short time, it’s best to avoid foods that can get stuck in your braces, such as popcorn, chips, corn on the cob, caramel, and other sticky foods. When these foods get stuck in your teeth, you may damage your brackets and wires while attempting to clean out debris.
Tips for clean teeth & aligners:
- Clean aligners thoroughly each night.
Thoroughly rinse and clean your aligners every night with antibacterial soap or cleaning solution your orthodontist provided you. Toothpaste can be gritty and can damage your aligners. Gently scrub your aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush separate from the one you use to brush your teeth. Once the aligners are clean, let them dry before you put them back in.
- Brush & floss before putting aligners in.
After removing your aligners and before you put them back in, brush and floss your teeth normally. If you don’t brush out remaining food debris before putting your aligners in, bacteria may develop underneath your aligners.
If you have further questions about cleaning your braces or clear aligners, feel free to ask your orthodontist. Our team at Salling and Tate is here to answer your questions! Give us a call today at 910-256-9040 or click here to schedule your next appointment online.