Keeping your teeth clean and free of plaque when you have braces requires extra care. The design—brackets, wires, and sometimes bands—lends itself to plaque buildup and trapped food. If teeth with braces are not thoroughly cleaned, the plaque buildup can quickly lead to inflamed gums. Inflamed gums can hurt and lead to gingivitis. Over the long-term it can result in calcium deposits that are visible when brackets come off. Calcium deposits are unsightly and difficult to remove. Your best option for preventing gingivitis and calcium deposits is to be meticulous with your oral hygiene when you have braces.
Luckily, there are special tools available that can help you get thoroughly clean those difficult-to-reach places. Take a look at the list below to decide which tools might be best to help you brush, floss, and rinse your mouth.
Superfloss is a handy way to get your floss around your braces. Normally when you floss, you have to move the floss in the direction of the bottom up. With orthodontics, however, the wire prevents you from effectively reaching the top of the tooth and into the gums.
The superfloss works by threading the floss over your wire. The device looks a little like a needle for hand sewing. You thread your floss through the opening at one end of the superfloss, and then you pull it through your teeth working from the top of the tooth down. Its long and skinny design makes it easy to use. It is certainly much easier than trying to fit your fist in your mouth to somehow floss around your wires!
Water and Air Flossers
Water and air flossers are the sonic toothbrushes of flossing. It looks a little like a sonic toothbrush as well. However, instead of a neck that holds bristles in place, the neck is actually a little wand for dispensing water or air through your teeth. It uses gentle but effective pressure to effectively dislodge food and clean plaque from between teeth and around gums.
Water or air flossers are a little pricier, but they might be worth the investment. After all, if you are investing in orthodontics, you must be pretty concerned about your smile. Despite the extra cash for these flossers, they are said to be 3Xs more effective than regular dental floss for cleaning around braces. Plus, they massage and stimulate your gums to keep them strong and healthy. Clean teeth and a massage for your mouth? Sounds pretty good.
Sonic or electric toothbrush
Brushing around brackets and behind wires can be tricky. Regular toothbrushes can be unwieldy in mouth full of braces, so you might want to consider a sonic or electric toothbrush.
There are a few kinds of these toothbrushes on the market, but most of them either have an oscillating head or a circulating head. Either one will do the extra brushing work for you. The swift motions will thoroughly clean the surface of your teeth.
While the head goes to work on your teeth, all you need to do is change the angle of the brush to appropriately clean the areas the wires block.
When choosing a sonic or electric toothbrush, be careful to choose one that has very soft bristles, as some models can be a little intense for delicate braces. You’ll also need to note that, when using the bristles on braces, you will need to change the head more often than regularly recommended as braces can add wear the bristles faster.
The Proxabrush is a great tool for cleaning under the wires of your braces. This brush looks a little like a triangular, tapered pipe cleaner on a traditional toothbrush handle. It features antibacterial brush protection to stay clean between uses and prevent the spreading of germs. In addition to cleaning around braces, the design also allows you to use the Proxabrush like floss. The brush comes in four sizes to fit the spaces between teeth.
This brush is small enough to fit underneath wires. Its 360-degree design means it cleans not just the teeth, but the wires as well. It can also clean the sides of brackets the wires obscure. Its small size allows you to get reach areas a one-sided toothbrush would struggle to reach. You can view a video on how to use the Proxabrush properly here: https://www.itsorthotime.com/patient-education.html
These are just a few of the great tools you can use to keep your smile and your orthodontic investment in top shape. If you practice proper and careful hygiene throughout your treatment, not only will your smile be aligned, but it will also be free of any unsightly deposits and discoloration.