Dental Braces & Oral Hygiene: A Complete Guide

Dental braces are essential when it comes to oral care. They help in aligning and straightening teeth, as well as positioning teeth to improve a person’s bite. Braces also help in fixing gaps, but their ultimate goal is to improve a person’s dental health. 

Today, more and more people are getting dental braces—thanks to the increased number of orthodontists offering these services. However, most of these people don’t know how to follow basic oral care practices. But the importance of proper oral hygiene cannot be overstated when it comes to dental braces. 

Good oral hygiene for people with dental braces helps in reducing the possibilities of having those ugly white spots surrounding the brackets. Besides, it also helps in reducing the risks of gum irritation or cavities around your teeth, which can affect the effectiveness of the braces. When you get your dental braces fitted, your orthodontist will give you tips for cleaning your teeth and taking care of the braces. 

Well, if you didn’t get these tips, here’s a complete guide for proper oral hygiene after getting dental braces fitted. 

Choose the right toothbrush

This is essential when caring for your braces. Most people with braces are tempted to buy cheap toothbrushes since the wire and metal will cause the toothbrush to wear out easily. But, dentists advise people with braces to use high-quality toothbrushes. The best thing to do is to consult with your orthodontist, as ask them for recommendations before buying a new toothbrush. 

One of the best options to use when you get braces fixed is an electric toothbrush. But, you should note that the techniques and duration of brushing with an electric toothbrush aren’t different from a normal toothbrush. Therefore, you shouldn’t buy an electric toothbrush hoping that you’ll have an easier time when brushing your teeth.

Besides, normal toothbrushes will work fine when cleaning your braces. However, ensure that you use a soft toothbrush. Professional orthodontists from San Diego dental clinic Bajars Dental recommend that you use a tooth with an orthodontic cut—this toothbrush has bristles with a refined “V” shape, where the outer bristles are a bit higher than the middle bristles. 

A step-by-step guide to cleaning your braces

  1. Start by rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash—this will help to loosen any food particles stuck in the braces. 
  2. With an interdental brush, clean in between each set of brackets. An interdental brush helps in removing the food particles that your ordinary toothbrush cannot reach. 
  3. Take your soft-bristled toothbrush (electric or normal) and hold it at a 45-degree angle. This makes it easier for the bristles to reach the pins and wires of the braces. Now, brush from the top to the bottom of each wire in order to remove any food particles and plaque. You shouldn’t rush this process at all. 
  4. Next, start brushing your teeth—and also follow the 45-degree angle rule when doing so. However, this should be on the gum line this time. Use a circular motion when brushing the surface of the teeth, and be gentle. 
  5. When you are done with brushing, it’s time to floss your teeth. Well, this can be annoying for some people, but it’s very important, particularly if you have traditional braces. However, you shouldn’t fret since you only need to floss once every day—but you can do it as often as you want. Ask your orthodontist about the special flossing equipment that you need, such as floss threaders, which make things easier. 
  6. Lastly, don’t forget to rinse your mouth with some mouthwash. Then, check your teeth, gums, and braces to see whether everything is ok. 

Here are special tools that you need to clean your teeth

Please note that cleaning your braces and teeth can be complicated without the following tools:

  • Interproximal/interdental brush – this is an essential tool that allows you to access the spaces in between your brackets, as well as under the metal wires. With an interdental brush, you will be surprised by the debris that you will remove—that you couldn’t with your floss or toothbrush. 
  • Tuft interdental brush – a tuft interdental brush will help you remove food particles stuck in between the spaces or gaps of your teeth. You can also use this tool to clean your braces. 
  • Floss threader – a floss threader makes it easier to floss your teeth. With this tool, you can easily get the dental floss in between the teeth, since the presence of the braces makes this harder. Using a floss threader is like using a needle and thread, and will make it easier to floss areas that you can reach with your toothbrush.