How to Maintain Your Dental Hygiene Routine With Braces

How to Maintain Your Dental Hygiene Routine With Braces

Crooked teeth and misaligned bites are pretty common — about two-thirds of all American adults have a problem that could have and should have been corrected with braces. But it’s not too late. More and more adults are choosing to straighten their bites and their smiles with traditional braces, clear braces, or clear aligners.

There are many reasons to choose braces to treat your crooked teeth, including:

For all their benefits, braces require a little extra effort on your part when it comes to maintaining your dental hygiene routine. To help you navigate dental care during your treatment, our team of experienced braces experts at LM Orthodontics in McLean, Virginia, has compiled this handy guide. 

How braces affect your hygiene routine

The goal of any good dental hygiene routine is to clear away bacteria and plaque so they can’t set up shop and damage your teeth and gums. For most people, this requires brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and keeping regular dental check-ups.

But when you have braces, there’s an added degree of difficulty because there is hardware attached to the surface of your teeth and brackets and wires that create new nooks and crannies where bacteria can hide.

Have the proper equipment on hand

Before braces, you probably used a toothbrush with a large head to cover a lot of ground with each swipe. You probably also used floss that you pulled from a spool, wound around your fingers, and pushed in between your teeth. But now that you have braces, you’ll need to make a few equipment adjustments. You’ll need:

Of course, you still need a good toothpaste with fluoride to keep your teeth strong.

New brushing technique

During the time you’re wearing braces, you need to step up your brushing game. Rather than just twice a day, you have to brush your teeth after every meal as well, which may mean you brush your teeth five times a day. 

You should also take longer with each brushing session. Before braces, brushing lasted about two minutes; after braces, you should stick with it for about five minutes to make sure you clean all the tight spaces. 

You’ll still brush at an angle to get the bristles under the gum line, and you’ll still concentrate on biting surfaces and your tongue, too. But when you wear braces, you’ll also need to angle the bristles up and under the brackets to clear away food and bacteria behind the wires.

New flossing technique

While you wear braces, you won’t be able to push floss in between your teeth like you did before. But a handy floss threader makes it easy. A floss threader is a slender, flexible piece of plastic that looks like a long needle.

Much like sewing, you thread the device with floss, insert it between your teeth under the archwire, and pull it through. After you floss each side of the teeth, you pull the floss out and repeat on your other teeth.

Watch what you eat

Dental hygiene extends beyond the bathroom sink when you have braces. An important part of your routine includes what happens at the table, too. What you eat can easily loosen your wires and brackets, or even break them. For that reason, make sure to avoid:

When possible, cut chewy, hard foods into chunks so you don’t have to rip into them with your braces and teeth. For example, corn, apples, and carrots are only off-limits in their whole state. If you cut them down into manageable pieces, you can enjoy them just like before.

If you have braces and want to learn more about how to care for them properly, come see us at LM Orthodontics for a full demonstration on living with braces. If you don’t have braces yet but are interested in your options, we invite you to come talk with our team of specialists to find out which treatment suits you best. Call us at 703-498-2047 or request an appointment online today. 

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