Braces are needed by many to help correct and improve their smile. When the time comes to finally remove them, you want your smile to be perfect, or else it seems like you did all that for nothing. To get that wow factor on the day they come off, your oral hygiene can’t be ignored. When you have braces, oral hygiene becomes even more crucial because you now have to be more thorough. Failing to take care of your braces can mean bad things for your teeth. Having braces makes it easier to develop plaque because it’s harder to remove, which can lead to tooth decay. An abundance of plaque can lead to dental erosion, making your gums irritable and prone to cavities. If you don’t brush as often as you should, you may also see some dental staining caused by the mounts on your braces. When they are removed, you may have stains outlining where the mounts were. As you can see, it’s important to keep up good oral hygiene habits while wearing your braces.

4 Good Oral Hygiene Habits to Adopt When You Have Braces

1) Brush regularly: When you have braces, expect to brush your teeth a lot more than you did before. It’s recommended you brush your teeth after every time you eat including after that 12 p.m. chocolate craving when you don’t feel like it. You need to increase your brushing frequency because food particles can be easily trapped within your braces, which can lead to further dental problems. For your brushing needs, use a soft toothbrush with round bristles, or you can also use an electric toothbrush. Before you start brushing, rinse your mouth with water to loosen food that may be stuck in your braces. Start brushing each tooth at the gum line, and then move to brushing above and below the brackets. Once brushing is finished, rinse again. Great brushing habits can ensure you get your braces off on schedule. Ignoring your brushing duties may require you to pause your regular adjustments and take care of your new dental problems, postponing the happy day when they come off.

2) Floss is your friend: After you’ve finished brushing, make the easy transition to flossing. Like before your braces, flossing at least once a day is fine. However, you need to floss under the wires in addition to the spaces between your teeth. To more easily get to these hard to reach places, use a floss threader or orthodontic flosser available for purchase at drug stores. Unwaxed floss can catch on your braces. Upgrade to waxed floss because it will slide easier between your teeth.

3) Try other options like interdental brushes and oral irrigators: For some people, interdental brushes are more effective than flossing. An interdental brush is a small brush that can be used to clean between teeth and underneath and around wires and braces. It will remove large pieces of food debris before you brush. Hard to reach areas can also benefit from the use of an oral irrigator. To remove plaque and food particles, it uses a stream of pulsating water bursts.

4) Don’t forget to use fluoride: Poor dental habits when wearing braces can accelerate tooth decay. Fluoride is your best defense against this problem. You can use a fluoride-based toothpaste, and drink fluoridated tap water. Your orthodontist may recommend you use a fluoride-rich mouthwash to further prevent tooth decay. Related: What Are Clear Orthodontic Braces for Adults? Maintaining good oral hygiene when wearing braces will make your smile perfect when they come off, while poor oral habits can postpone your treatment. To avoid this situation, make sure you brush frequently, floss regularly, use fluoride, and use other tools to reach difficult areas.