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A Complete Guide for Keeping Braces Clean

A Complete Guide for Keeping Braces Clean

Posted on July 27th, 2023

Minneapolis Dentist Dr. Maggie Craven Thompson at Skyway Dental Clinic has a few helpful tips on braces, what you need to know about them, and how to keep them in working condition.Whether you are a child or an adult, you may find yourself in the dentist’s office getting the news that you need braces. It’s not something you may be excited about, but the fact is, braces may be necessary to give you the best smile possible. But what changes once you get braces? We hope to provide you with answers to some questions regarding oral hygiene and braces

How To Brush Teeth and Gums with Braces

Although your dentist will give you lots of information about your braces and their upkeep, once you leave our office the responsibility of keeping your teeth and braces clean falls upon you, the patient. While most people try to brush their teeth 2-3 times per day, when you have braces The ADA recommends brushing not only your teeth, but your gums 5 times a day, and you will need to brush for a minimum of 5 minutes during each session. Many people brush when they wake up each morning, after every meal and before they go to sleep each night. 

To properly brush your teeth when you have braces, adhere to the following steps:

  • Brush back and forth over the band and bracket of your braces at an angle aiming towards your tooth. 
  • Make sure to brush back and forth under the bracket, as well. 
  • Brush not only the biting surfaces of your teeth but also the inside surface by your tongue. 
  • It is best to use a clockwise/counterclockwise motion while brushing your gums. 

What is Plaque? 

Plaque is defined as a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth. Living inside the plaque are germs, which stick to your teeth. These germs living in the plaque are standing by to consume the sugary foods you eat, which creates an acid that eats away at your tooth enamel causing cavities (tooth decay), and very sore gums. The bottom line plaque is no fun. So brushing regularly (with or without braces) is so important.

What NOT to Eat with Braces

Unfortunately, when you have braces, there are many foods your dentist will advise against you eating, because they can break your braces, or loosen them. Some foods you should not eat while you have braces include, but are not limited to: 

  • Corn on the Cob
  • Taffy
  • Popcorn
  • Carmel Candy
  • Gum
  • Ice (No chewing!)
  • Bagels (unless cut into small pieces) 
  • Peanut Brittle
  • Whole Raw Carrots (unless cut into strips)

Flossing Your Teeth with Braces 

When you have braces, flossing is very similar to how you floss without them. The difference is that the floss needs to be threaded under the arch wire and between the teeth. A floss threader (which looks like a large plastic needle) can be helpful and make flossing with your braces easier.  Follow these ADA instructions to use a floss threader: 

  1. Thread the floss under the arch wire. 
  2. Remove the threader.
  3. Floss each side of each tooth within the space.
  4. Pull the floss out of the space with one hand as you release the floss with your other hand. 
  5. Repeat this method between the rest of your teeth. 

Braces may seem overwhelming at first. But once you get used to the new steps in your routine, it will become second nature. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call us. Our staff will be happy to help with anything you may be struggling with when it comes to your braces, and how to maintain them. It’s worth the effort to ensure your smile is the best it can be once the braces come off! Schedule a consultation with Skyway Dental Clinic today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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