Having new braces placed can be exciting, but also frustrating. You are probably eager to start the process of improving your smile, but worried about how you will manage day to day life. Taking care of your oral hygiene with braces presents some unique challenges, but with a bit of practice, you will become an expert in no time. Here is what you need to know.
Upgrade Your Toothbrush
While it is true that even the most basic toothbrush will work, now is a wonderful time to invest in an upgrade. A soft toothbrush with a small head and bristles cut at an angle will make it easier and more comfortable to brush, especially during the first few weeks, when your mouth is sore, and you are learning to navigate around the braces. You can even choose a fancy model with a circular center for extra polishing.
Avoid Whitening Toothpaste
You can use any brand or formulation of toothpaste that you like, with one big exception. While you are wearing braces, avoid whitening toothpaste. It will whiten only the parts of your teeth that are not behind metal, causing an uneven look.
Change How You Brush
You probably learned to brush your teeth by holding the brush straight against them. This is fine for uncovered teeth, but not so good for teeth that are encased in metal. Instead, you need to learn to brush at an angle.
Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the fronts of your teeth in one section of your mouth. Brush in small circles to clean those teeth, and then repeat the process in the next section. Finally, move to the backs of your teeth, maintaining the 45-degree angle for each section of your mouth. It should take two to three minutes to fully clean your teeth and braces, which is about the length of the average song.
Use Extra Tools
Brushing your teeth and braces will get them mostly clean, but removing all tiny particles from around braces is a challenge. Try a proxabrush, or interdental toothbrush, which looks like a small pipe cleaner and is designed to fit between the braces and your teeth. Another option is a Waterpik, which uses a tiny stream of water to clean around the braces and wires.
Flossing is still an important part of oral hygiene, even for those with braces. However, it can be difficult to manage the floss around the braces. A floss threader, which works kind of like a sewing needle, can be invaluable. Thread the floss through the eye of the threader, push it gently underneath the wires, grab the free end, and floss as normal.
Brush After Every Meal
Brushing twice per day is not enough when you have braces. Gum disease and white spots on the teeth are real possibilities, so try your best to brush after every meal. When this is impossible, use plain water to thoroughly rinse out your mouth, limiting the amount of debris that is left behind.
Although braces present some unique challenges, most people who have had them agree that they are worth it. You will soon learn to manage your oral hygiene with ease, and the tradeoff for the extra work is a vastly improved smile.
Conveniently located in Woodbury, MN, Creekview Dental provides a progressive yet conservative approach to dental care. Our innovative, highly personalized procedures are focused on maintaining tooth structure and providing you with the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve. Call us today at 651-738-8204 to take the first steps on the road to better dental health.