One in 4 people avoids smiling because they’re unhappy with the state of their teeth. With numbers like that, it’s not surprising more people visit an orthodontist every year than ever before.
Growing teenagers aren’t the only people opting for braces, either. Over 1.4 million adults visit an orthodontist every year.
Whether you’ve had braces for years or have them for the first time in your senior years, clean braces are an essential part of maintaining good oral health.
Not sure how to keep your braces clean and your teeth healthy? Keep reading for some easy tips on braces care to make your smile sparkle.
Why Clean Braces Matter
Straight teeth are the ultimate goal of wearing braces – but if you’re not keeping them clean, you may end up having to have teeth removed anyway!
Bacteria and plaque can build up around the fittings of your braces. Without proper cleaning, this turns into bad breath.
Later on, the bad smells turn into bad teeth. Bacteria taking hold around the fixings of your braces can damage your teeth for the long term. This could mean you may even need teeth to be removed if your oral hygiene doesn’t improve.
7 Top Braces Care Tips for Brilliant Oral Health
The good news is that it’s easy to take care of your braces to maximize your chances of having a healthy smile once the braces finally come off. Follow these steps to make sure you keep your braces – and your teeth – in top condition.
1. Prepare Before You Brush
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially when you’ve just woken up. Your mouth dries out in your sleep and any lurking bacteria have had plenty of time to multiply (adding to smelly morning breath).
If you have any removable parts of your braces, such as elastics, take them out as instructed by your orthodontist. A removable retainer should be completely taken out and cleaned with a toothbrush and denture cleaning toothpaste.
If you wear Invisalign trays, you simply need to take the entire tray out. This can be cleaned separately from your teeth using a denture cleaning solution.
2. Brush at an Angle
Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to make sure you’re cleaning every part of your teeth. Use the same angle when you’re cleaning the inside of your teeth as well as the outside.
Take your time, too. Brush every tooth separately, paying special attention to the brackets of your braces.
4. Floss Daily
Floss at least once a day to make sure no fragments of food have become stuck between your teeth.
If you’re unsure how to floss with your braces, your dentist or orthodontist will be happy to show you the best method.
5. Visit Your Dentist
Keep your braces clean and make sure there’s nothing out of place, such as loose wires: visit your dentist regularly.
They’ll point out any areas that need extra attention and care to keep clean. They may also help to clean any build-up of plaque around the fixtures on your teeth to reduce the risk of infection or inflammation.
6. Avoid Certain Foods
Very hard, sticky, or chewy foods spell disaster for braces. Skip the toffee apples at Halloween and don’t crunch on a candy cane at Christmas.
These foods risk breaking your braces or creating a sticky build-up on fixtures that’s hard to remove. Even crunching ice or biting into an apple can affect your braces, so think twice before you reach for them.
7. Use Special Cleaning Tools
There are some tools available to make cleaning your braces easier. Interdental brushes, for example, are small and thin brushes to help clean between the fixtures on your teeth.
If you’re struggling to floss around your braces, a flossing stick may be the solution.
You should also use alcohol-free mouthwash regularly to help protect your teeth and reduce the risk of gum disease.
Consider Invisalign for Easy Oral Hygiene
If keeping up with the regular braces care routine above sounds like a lot of work – or you simply can’t give up your love of all the foods you’re supposed to avoid – consider Invisalign instead.
Clear trays act like braces to reshape your teeth over time. The principal is the same, but it’s much easier to keep Invisalign clean. You’ll hardly be able to see these braces when you’re wearing them, too.
Want low-maintenance braces? Check out this guide to Invisalign to decide if it’s the best option for your teeth alignment therapy.