When undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is extremely important to take extra care to make sure that the teeth and gums are kept clean. It may be a challenge to keep clean braces, as braces and appliances can cover portions of the teeth. However, failure to keep teeth clean may cause issues that can affect the beauty of the smile after all of the effort to follow through with orthodontic treatment has been put in. Orthodontic treatment can be a huge waste of time and money when the teeth must be removed or undergo serious treatment after braces or other appliances have been removed.
To keep clean braces, brush after all food and drinks (except for water,) before bed, and after waking. It may be necessary to alter eating habits, because snacking or sipping beverages can allow sugar, acids, and other substances to sit on the teeth for extended periods of time. Food and drinks should be consumed within 15 minutes, after which the teeth should be thoroughly brushed. A quality electric tooth brush may improve tooth cleaning.
Braces patients can get away with flossing once a day, but it is necessary to floss around every wire and brace. It may be helpful to lace the floss over the wires in order to reach the gum line. Getting in between all teeth and cleaning around wires can help to prevent food debris and plaque from sitting on the teeth, which can prevent problems down the road.
Devices such as water pics can help patients to more easily reach areas of the mouth that are blocked by the brackets and wires of braces. The water pic uses water at different pressure levels to flush out debris. Most water pics come with several different heads to control the way that the water is directed or used to clean the teeth and in between the teeth.
Mouthwashes and rinses may be able to help reduce biofilm and gingivitis. Some rinses may even be antibacterial. There are mouthwashes and rinses available both by prescription and over the counter. It is important to consult with the orthodontist before beginning to use mouthwashes or rinses, however, as some may be more effective than others depending on the details of the case.
There is no substitute for professional cleanings to maintain clean braces, so patients should be diligent about attending regular cleanings with a professional. Orthodontists may wish to do cleanings, or may work with a dentist to make sure that teeth are properly cared for. Professionals may also be able to check the progress on orthodontic treatment and make recommendations during regular cleanings.