It can be tricky knowing how to clean braces.

Sometimes it can be a worry that you’re not cleaning your teeth properly when you’ve had your brace fitted. And it’s true, your teeth do need some extra TLC while you’re wearing them.

The great news is that through buying a few cheap brushing aids and small changes in your brushing technique you can easily adapt to your new orthodontic braces.

Let’s see why it’s important to know how to clean braces properly…

Don’t give plaque an excuse to stick to your teeth.

Plaque is the white soft stuff that collects on your tooth surface if they’re inadequately cleaned. It’s basically a collection of living, breathing and eating (and pooing) bacteria.

If plaque isn’t removed by brushing, every time you have a meal, the bacteria get the leftovers. The waste they produce from eating it then causes tooth decay.

Not ideal.

Orthodontic braces can trap extra plaque

reason to know how to clean properly with braces - white marks

Braces create nooks and crannies where the bacteria can sit and live, escaping the wrath of your toothbrush.

If you let this happen it can create problems.

Inadequate cleaning while wearing a brace can lead to increased gum disease, decay and markings (called decalcification and shown in the photo above) on your teeth.

Gum disease is normally reversible, but decay may lead to fillings.

So, brush after every meal – the fronts, tops, backs and in between your teeth.

The kit you’ll need

  1. Soft toothbrush
  2. Single tufted toothbrush
  3. Tepe (interdental brush)
  4. Fluoride toothpaste
  5. Fluoride mouthwash

How to clean braces – Your step-by-step brushing technique 

When brushing your teeth it’s crucial you touch every surface with a brush.

You can’t see between your teeth or under a wire but there is plaque there.

  1. Rinse out with water first to remove loose debris after every meal.

  2. Brush the fronts

single tufted tooth brush to clean under brace

Take your soft toothbrush and brush the areas of the teeth that have no brackets or wires first. All the way to your gumline and the tip of the tooth.

Using your single tufted brush, clean around each of the brackets before tilting your toothbrush 45 degrees and gently cleaning under the wires.

Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and never rinse with water afterwards.

You can find the single tufted brushes at Boots, enabling you to clean your braces properly.

 

  1. Between your teeth

how to clean braces properly - tepe brushes

The wires mean you won’t be able to pass floss between your teeth while your orthodontic brace is on.

Interdental brushes are your friend. These can be passed through at your gumline between each tooth.

Again, these can be picked up at Boots.

  1. Top and back surfaces

This is easy. Your braces won’t affect how you do this.

  1. Fluoride mouthwash

how to clean braces properly - use mouthwash

For added protection use a fluoride mouthwash at a different time of the day to brushing.

There’s no point straight after brushing as your toothpaste will have the same ingredient.

Finally

Never miss your regular dental checkups.

You may see the orthodontist every month, but your dentist still needs to maintain the health of your teeth. They’ll look for any issues unrelated to your brace.

Although the only fixed brace I provide is Six Month Smiles in Bournemouth and the surrounding areas, this information on how to clean braces properly is useful for any kind of braces.


AUTHOR

Dr Gareth Edwards Dentist AuthorDr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) is Bournemouth and Poole based dentist who qualified from dental school with honours. He has a keen interest in orthodontics and aesthetic dentistry and is a certified Invisalign and Six Month Smiles provider. For more information click here.

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