Ideas for Keeping Braces Cleans
What are the Best Tools to Use for Cleaning Teeth with Braces?
The day you get your braces off is an exciting one! You finally get to see your beautiful, straight smile after months or years of wearing unsightly metal brackets and wires. There is one thing that can ruin this day, and that is removing the braces only to find a mouth full of cavities.
While braces are great for moving the teeth into a prescribed position, unfortunately they are also great for collecting plaque. If this dental plaque remains on the teeth around the brackets and between the teeth, the risk for cavities is very high. Because of the increased challenges of cleaning the teeth while in braces, orthodontic patients cannot rely on simple brushing and flossing. They must use additional tools to effectively clean the teeth and remove all dental plaque.
Electric toothbrushes provide more effective plaque removal due to their high frequency vibrations and movements. There are many brands of electric toothbrushes available over-the-counter today, and several make brush heads that have a unique design specifically for cleaning the area around an orthodontic bracket.
When you brush with an electric toothbrush, your job is to simply place the bristles in as many areas around the bracket as possible. The electric movement will do the rest of the work.
We know that flossing during orthodontic treatment is challenging to say the least. In order to use traditional floss, you must use a stiff, floss threader to pull the floss underneath the wires and access the area between the teeth. Thankfully, there is a better tool than floss threaders available now.
Platypus flossers have a unique design that holds the floss on a U-shaped frame, with one end that is flat (like a platypus bill) and can fit between the wire and the teeth. This allows you to move the floss between the teeth relatively easily. While these are a little technique-sensitive (you need to press them in two directions to address each tooth in the site), they are far simpler than threading the floss like a needle.
GUM Soft Picks
GUM Soft Picks are a specific brand and design of a tool known as interdental brushes or proxy-brushes. These small tools easily fit between the wire and the teeth to remove food debris or plaque that collects during meals. These are small enough to keep in a pocket or purse and quickly clean the braces, even while you are out.
The pipe cleaner shape of interdental brushes allows you to use them to remove plaque from small areas. In particular, the GUM Soft Picks are made of a flexible, rubbery material that will not damage the gums.
Because of the increased risk for cavities during orthodontic treatment, all patients with braces should be using a cavity-fighting mouthwash every day. The mouthwash should contain fluoride to strengthen enamel against the acid attacks of cavity-causing bacteria. Our favorite brand is Colgate’s PhosFlur. Previously available by prescription only, this mouthwash is now for sale over-the-counter at most pharmacies and grocery stores. For the best effect, use the mouthwash after brushing and flossing, and do NOT rinse your mouth afterward.
More Questions about Cleaning Teeth While in Braces?
Call Empire Dental Specialty Group to schedule a free orthodontic consultation with or orthodontic specialists. We can answer any question you have about braces and maintaining great dental health while in them.