Picture this: You’ve recently gotten braces, and they look absolutely fabulous! Now, what comes next? At Glass Orthodontics, we’re here to provide ongoing support from the very beginning. Our goal is to ensure you have the information you need to answer this common question: How do I clean and care for my braces?
Unpacking the Components
To properly care for your braces, it’s crucial to understand the distinct components and their roles.
- Brackets, integral to traditional braces, are securely affixed to your teeth and are available in either metal or clear materials, depending on your preference.
- Wires interconnect the entire structure, exerting the required pressure to align the teeth gradually.
- Bands play a crucial role in securing the wires to the brackets. Beyond their functional purpose, they offer a personalized touch in a diverse range of vibrant colors.
Cleaning Your Braces
Dr. Glass always recommends that any patient with braces have a kit on hand—one they can take with them everywhere throughout the day, to maintain constant cleaning:
- Soft-Bristle Toothbrush
- Orthodontic Wax
- Floss Threader
- Interdental Brush
- Fluoride Mouthwash
Now that you’re familiar with the tools, let’s delve into their practical use! We’ll guide you through steps on how to clean your braces efficiently. Although performing all these steps every time may not be practical, it’s a good goal to aim for. Your key objective is to uphold cleanliness, thwarting the accumulation of bacteria and, ultimately, preventing decay.
- Start with a Rinse: Initiate the cleaning process by rinsing with water to remove any loose debris.
- Brush Thoroughly: Choose a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Brush at a 45-degree angle to the brackets, moving from the top down and then from the bottom up. Pay special attention to the area between the brackets and gums.
- Clean Between Brackets: Using the same brush, meticulously clean between brackets and wires. Maneuver the brush in and out between each bracket to eliminate food particles and plaque.
- Floss with Threader/Orthodontic Floss: Carefully thread the floss through the brackets and wires using a floss threader or orthodontic floss. Floss between each tooth to ensure excellent cleaning.
- Water Flosser: Consider adding a water flosser to your routine for efficient removal of debris from hard-to-reach areas. Water flossers are especially advantageous for individuals with braces as they swiftly and thoroughly cover extensive areas.
- Fluoride Mouthwash: Conclude your oral care regimen by gargling with fluoride mouthwash. Opt for an alcohol-free version to prevent irritation. Swish the mouthwash for about 30 seconds before spitting it out, ensuring no ingestion.
- Check for Debris: Use a small mirror to examine for any lingering debris or areas that may require attention.
- Orthodontic Wax: If brackets or wires cause irritation to your gums, apply orthodontic wax as a protective barrier against sharp edges.
Caring For Your Braces
Now that you’ve established an effective cleaning routine let’s explore additional methods for properly caring for your braces. By adopting specific habits and avoiding others, you can ensure optimal maintenance.
- Oral Hygiene: While it may sound repetitive, the previously mentioned steps are the main component of caring for your braces. Prioritize your oral health, and don’t underestimate the importance of these fundamental practices.
- Avoid Certain Foods: Despite the challenges, it’s crucial to remember that braces are an investment, and safeguarding them from damage is essential. Steer clear of hard, sticky, or chewy foods, such as hard candies, popcorn, toffee, or gum. These not only directly threaten the components but can also become lodged between them.
- Regular Check-Ups: Every orthodontic treatment requires regular follow-up appointments. These sessions enable us to assess progress and make any necessary adjustments to your appliance. Additionally, make sure to adhere to your routine dental cleanings as scheduled by your general dentist.
- Follow the Rules: We will provide you with specific instructions aligned with your treatment plan. Consider these more as rules than suggestions. In addition to the aspects covered earlier, these guidelines may include tasks like wearing rubber bands.
- Wear a Mouthguard: Sports enthusiasts should add an additional layer of protection. Use a mouthguard to shield your teeth from impact; we can provide a custom-fit one for optimal protection.
- Stay Hydrated: Maintain hydration by consuming ample water, especially after indulging in sugary or acidic foods or beverages. This practice aids in flushing away food particles and reduces the risk of cavities.
- Be Mindful of Habits: Refrain from habits that can have negative impacts on your teeth, such as nail-biting, chewing on pens, or using your teeth to open packages.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: Stick to the consumption of foods rich in vitamins and minerals to enhance your overall oral health.
- Emergency Kit: When traveling light, streamline your cleaning essentials to the basics: floss, a compact toothbrush, a small mirror, and orthodontic wax.
A Team You Can Trust!
Our team wants you to have all of your bases covered when you work with us. This means always being available as a resource to answer your questions, concerns, and curiosities. If you’re looking for a new orthodontist or are a returning patient, you can reach one of our four offices: Daphne (251-263-5584), Atmore (251-299-9395), Bay Minette (251-299-9113), and Brewton (251-263-5584).