An Orthodontic Cleaning Guide
You just made a major investment in braces…. now what? Well, whether that investment was for your child or for yourself the ultimate goal is to have a beautiful smile you’re proud to show off around Nashville, TN. However, getting to that part requires a little bit of work on your end. It may not be the most fun part of your day, (an understatement we know) but properly cleaning your braces will help you successfully achieve that beautiful smile you’ve been waiting for.
If you’ve already done the whole braces thing, you want to keep that smile straight and beautiful, don’t you? Well, that requires you to wear your retainer(s), and those things can get gross! So, to help you avoid that we have the ultimate guide for you and your child to keep your braces and retainers clean!
Tip: Orthodontic Kit for Braces On The Go
Living with braces isn’t always fun or easy. Prepare a kit for your child that they can bring with them whenever they leave the house to make life a little easier!
- Toothbrush: Braces of any kind can trap food particles more easily around the brackets. Choose a toothbrush with a small brushing head, soft bristles, and bristle length variety.
- Toothpaste: Choose a fluoride-containing toothpaste to help with stains and protect against decay.
- Floss: Use wax floss because it is less likely to shred. You can also find floss with built-in floss threaders to help you get around the brackets quicker.
- Proxabrush: A Proxabrush is an interdental cleaning tool. These small brushes are good for hard-to-reach areas that regular toothbrushes can’t get into, they’re easier to use than dental floss for some people.
- Wax: In case there is a wire poking or bothering them, which in this case you should call your orthodontist as soon as possible.
- Mouth wash: You can’t just brush all the bacteria away! Your child should rinse with mouthwash to kill any germs left behind.
- Lip balm: Braces can dry out your lips so pack a quick lip balm to use.
Don’t be shy to smile with braces! People actually notice your mouth more when it looks as if you are trying to hide something. Plus… you’re on your way to a smile to build a future on!
Now that we’ve covered what to put in your braces cleaning kit, let us move on to the next most important thing: orthodontic dental cleaning for kids.
Good oral hygiene is key to a healthy mouth whether you have braces or not, but it is especially important if you have braces! Braces make cleaning your teeth a bit more complicated because plaque quickly builds up around brackets, bands, and wires. Brushing your teeth after each meal will help prevent cavities, gum inflammation, and bad breath.
Parents are often unsure how to properly clean their child’s braces. The orthodontist will give you instructions and materials for cleaning them, but all parents need a general idea of what they should do. It is important that the wires get cleaned carefully and thoroughly so as not to disrupt your orthodontic treatment or damage your teeth.
Do not forget to floss every day. Flossing with braces is a little more difficult than it is without, but equally as important. When you brush your teeth, the bristles of your toothbrush can only reach a certain point on each tooth. This is why flossing after brushing removes any additional residue from between teeth.
In order to floss your teeth, feed the short end of the floss through the space between the main wire and the part of the tooth closest to the gum. Then work the floss on each side of the two teeth the floss is between to remove any particles. Make sure you are flossing gently so you don’t break a wire.
Finally, you want to clean your teeth with a proxabrush or another braces-specific cleaning brush. Your orthodontist will give this to you after you get braces. This brush is specifically designed to clean braces. You will push the brush down from the top between two braces, stroke several times, and remove. Then, push the brush up from the bottom between the two braces, and repeat. You will repeat this practice until all the braces have been cleaned.
After these steps, your teeth and gums should be nice and clean. If you have any concerns or questions about specific aspects of orthodontic dental cleaning for children, please ask us! We are always here to help make sure that we keep their smile healthy as they grow up.
Post Braces, The Dreaded Retainer
Now that you have that beautiful smile, it’s your job to keep it! Retainers are a necessity to preserve your smile. That means you need to take good care of them. A retainer is exposed to many germs through your saliva, food particles, and really anything that enters your mouth. Not cleaning a retainer can lead to bigger problems like infections. So, how do you clean your retainer when it’s in a germ-y predicament?
The best time to clean your retainer is when you take it out to brush your teeth. You need to use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Once a day or at least once a week, you should disinfect your retainer by soaking it in a denture cleanser. Add the cleanser to a cup of warm water, not hot, hot water may shrink the retainer! Then, after you let your retainer soak, rinse it with plain water before placing it back in your mouth.
Things to avoid when cleaning your retainers:
- Avoid scrubbing with toothpaste. This can easily roughen the surface, and create more surface area for bacteria to attach and hide.
- Be careful not to over-soak.
- Do not use vinegar as an at-home cleaning alternative. It may increase the porosity of the acrylic and can corrode retainer wiring if used long enough.
- Avoid exposing to excessive heat
- Do not put your retainers in a place where your pets can get ahold of them.