What is the Best Way to Floss and Keep your Teeth Clean if you have Braces?
Let’s face it–keeping your teeth clean can be a challenge when you have braces. And, the side effects from not keeping them clean can be devastating.
Let’s look at how to keep the teeth clean when wearing braces and why it can be so difficult to do.
How to keep your teeth clean when wearing braces (and why it’s so hard)?
With braces, food tends to get stuck between the “nooks and crannies” (i.e., underneath the wire and in between the gums and brackets). And, your mouth is teeming with thousands of different types of bacteria, many of which are helpful and needed for good breath. But, you also have some bad bacteria that cause cavities and are attracted to foods like simple carbohydrates– sugars. They break down those foods and cause cavities.
Let’s pause, and I’ll indulge you with a great tidbit for your next party: Bacteria make cavities by ingesting sugars. And, cavities are actually made by acid produced by bacteria after ingesting the sugars. So, ready for this? When you have a cavity, it’s because the bacteria used the bathroom in your mouth. Gross, huh? Like, I said-great conversation piece at your next party. But…even a better of an incentive to keep your teeth clean. So, how do you do that?
1) Brush your teeth. Typically the dentist will direct you to brush with the toothbrush at an angle, getting food that’s stuck underneath the gums. But, when you have braces, you won’t get much food out that way. So, you actually should brush from the opposite angle with your braces, since most food gets stuck in between your gums and brackets. When the food gets stuck, the bacteria collect. And, bacteria can start to form around the brackets, kicking off the cavity process. Then, you’ll have a white line around the bracket when the braces come off, because the teeth start to demineralize. Also, when food’s next to the gums, it causes the gums to inflame and swell. Inflammation can cause the bone in your teeth to recede, leaving you with gum and bone problems down the road. So, first and foremost, brush at the right angle to get all the food off your brackets.
2) Floss your teeth. Make sure you floss and keep it clean in between your teeth. To get large debris and food particles out, use a “Christmas tree” bristle brush, which is nice for going underneath the wire, getting in between the teeth, and toward the back of your mouth where sticky foods and meat get stuck. If you get right underneath the wire, you can really dislodge the food.
Of course, flossing with braces is a challenge and you can imagine why. Normally, you floss back and forth in between the teeth to dislodge food, but with braces, you can’t floss right in between the teeth due to the wire. So, you actually have to thread the piece of floss through the top of the wire and through the teeth. Certain products like Super Floss make it easy. Super Floss is a little bit thicker and sturdier so you don’t need a floss threader. You take the floss through the brackets and just pull it through. Once the floss is in that position, you’ll floss like you normally would, but you’ll have to go in between each tooth.
Overall, remember when it comes to keeping your teeth clean with braces, you must be more diligent. But if you brush and floss the right way, you’ll keep that bacteria away that causes cavities and gum disease. While it may be hard, it’s certainly worth it.
At Beecroft Orthodontics, we believe in providing the best care and guidance before, during and after your treatment so that your dream of an inspiring smile can materialize. Feel free to contact us for further details.
Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia
How to Keep your Teeth Clean with Braces On?