If it seems like everyone is getting braces, it is probably true. Because dental health is better than it was a century ago, people lose fewer teeth. Small jaws and the eruption of wisdom teeth may cause the permanent teeth to come in out of proper alignment. Braces get the teeth in an ideal alignment so that a person can enjoy good oral health. Properly aligned teeth are also easier to clean and may have fewer dental problems later in life. While the braces are on, it is important to care for them and your teeth properly. Try these five clever hacks for taking care of your dental braces and teeth while you are receiving orthodontic treatment.
1. Floss at the Orthodontist’s Office
When you go to the orthodontists for a braces adjustment and wire change, ask if the hygienist can floss your teeth while the wires are off. If the hygienist is unable to do this for you, ask if you can do it yourself. It will only take a couple of minutes, and it will be easier to floss your teeth while there are not any wires connecting the braces. If you go in once every four to six weeks to get new wires or bands put on your braces, this gives you the opportunity to more thoroughly clean your teeth.
2. Use Handheld Flossers
Handheld flossing tools make it easier to floss around your braces. Your orthodontist may be able to give you one of these flossers. They make it easier to clean around your braces so that you can remove stuck particles of food. It is those stuck food particles that give cavity-causing bacteria something to eat. As the bacteria digest the sugars in stuck particles of food, they release acids that wear away the enamel of your teeth. You could get cavities while wearing braces because of the food that gets stuck around the braces. If the flossing tool is reusable, be sure to clean it after each use. This helps to remove bacteria that collect on the waxed floss.
3. Employ an Air Flossing Device
Consider the amount of food that gets stuck between your teeth when you do not have braces. The braces themselves provide even more places for particles of food to get stuck. An air flossing device uses a pressurized stream of air to get food particles unstuck from around the braces. It is sort of like the canned air that gets debris out from your computer keyboard or mouse. Use the air flossing tool to augment your usual brushing, flossing and rinsing routine while you have braces.
4. Try a Water Pick
A water pick is a tool that is similar to an air flossing device. The water pick uses a stream of pressurized water to rinse out the area between your teeth. It can also be used to loosen particles of food from around your braces. The water pick also rinses away the particles that could leave stains on your teeth. Use the water pick as an additional teeth-cleaning tool. It should not be used as a substitute for brushing, flossing or using a fluoride-based mouth rinse.
5. Use a Specialty Toothbrush for Braces
Your orthodontist may give you a special toothbrush to use while you have braces. This toothbrush cleans the braces and your teeth. It is often called a Christmas tree brush because it looks like a Christmas tree. It is designed to clean the area between two braces. These brushes are designed to be used in conjunction with a regular soft-bristled toothbrush. You will begin by brushing your teeth from the gums down for upper teeth and the bottom up. Do this on each tooth. Then use the Christmas tree brush to clean in both directions in the space of the braces. Repeat this procedure for your bottom teeth.
Oral hygiene takes longer when you have dental braces. However, this increased time is worthwhile because it protects you from getting cavities or stains on your teeth while they are being straightened. When you are making such a big investment in your oral health, it makes sense to care for your teeth in the best possible way.