Effective cleaning is a very important part of wearing braces. You will need to pay even more attention to cleaning your teeth than you have done before. This is because it is possible to cause permanent damage to tooth enamel if both teeth and the braces are not kept clean. White spots can appear on the tooth enamel – an early stage of tooth decay – and you may also develop gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums.
So, you will now have to spend more time and take more care whilst cleaning, but all of this extra effort will definitely be worth it.
Hints and Tips
- Brush your teeth and gums three times a day, spending at least 3-4 minutes each time.
- Pay particular attention to the area UNDER the lower braces and ABOVE the upper braces – the areas closest to the gum line is where food gets trapped most.
- Use interdental brushes and floss after tooth brushing. You'll need to use a special floss with a stiffer end (a bit like a shoelace!) so that you can thread it between your teeth.
- Brush your teeth and gums before each orthodontic appointment.
- Remove any elastics before brushing.
- Limit your food intake to three meals and two 'snacks' (e.g. morning tea and afternoon tea) every day. This will allow your mouth's natural defence against tooth decay – your saliva – time to get rid of acids on your teeth that form after eating and drinking.
- Avoid food and drink with high acid content e.g. soft drinks, wine, fruit juice, tomatoes, lemons and other citrus fruit.