It is essential to keep teeth clean while wearing braces
This is true for orthodontic patients of any age, but teens are particularly vulnerable. Why?
For one thing, some of a teenager’s teeth have only just come in and new teeth take time to develop strong, decay-resistant enamel.
Secondly, a teen’s changing hormone levels can make periodontal (gum) tissues more sensitive to a buildup of oral bacteria.
But it’s possible to keep on top of the situation with the following:
- Brushing. When wearing braces, it’s crucial to brush both above and below the brackets and the wire that runs through them. Use a soft brush that will reach easily into all areas. Start by pointing it at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line and brushing the tooth surfaces between the gum and the wire; then go around again and clean from the wire to the edge of the teeth. Don’t forget to brush the chewing surfaces and the back (tongue) sides of all the teeth as well!
- Cleaning between the teeth. This may be the most challenging part of oral hygiene with braces, but it’s extremely important. You can use special floss holders or threaders to help get dental floss between teeth with braces, or tiny “interdental” brushes made to fit in these spaces.
- Fluoride. This tooth-strengthening mineral can help prevent decay and is essential for orthodontic patients, who have higher counts of decay-causing bacteria. Chances are, the toothpaste you use contains fluoride, but check the label to make sure. We may also recommend other fluoride-containing products to you if we see signs of tooth decay.
- Mouthrinses. There are many over-the-counter and prescription-strength mouthrinses available to help reduce plaque buildup and gum inflammation. We can advice you on which products would be best in your case.