Six Must-Haves for Cleaning Teeth with Braces or Aligners When You’re on the Go

Patients with any type of orthodontic appliance should be cleaning their teeth multiple times a day. Situations inevitably come up when you’re on the go and need to freshen up.

Do your teeth a favor and be prepared. Stash portable items in a backpack, purse, school locker or briefcase. You’ll be rewarded with a healthy and beautiful smile when treatment wraps up. Here are six must-haves for cleaning teeth on the go. 1. Water. It’s your friend. And it’s readily available at bathroom sinks. After eating, or after drinking a sugary and/or acidic beverage, if you realize your toothbrush is nowhere to be found, give your mouth a thorough rinse with plain water. Swish it around to get rid of food particles or traces of beverages. Water even helps to decrease the decay-causing acidity of your mouth. A water rinse is not as good as brushing, but it’s much better than allowing materials to remain on, and in between, teeth. 2. A toothbrush. Even without toothpaste, brushing removes food and plaque and will help you keep your teeth healthy. A travel toothbrush takes up about half the space of a regular toothbrush. But if you prefer a full-sized toothbrush, we won’t argue with you. 3. An interproximal brush. This is a remarkable little tool. It’s small and very easy to carry along. Use it to get at food that’s stuck around brackets, between the archwire and teeth, and in between teeth. It’s effective at attacking plaque, too. You may develop such a great appreciation for your interproximal brush that you continue using it after you complete your orthodontic treatment! 4. Floss. Also for cleaning between teeth, the space between the archwire and the teeth, and especially under the gumline. If you have braces, be sure a floss threader is stowed with your floss. That is, unless you are using “pre-threaded” floss, pre-cut to length and with an aglet tip (like a shoelace). Some brands come in single-use packets, which take up next-to-no space. Those with aligners may be able to use a flosser, if that’s the tool you prefer. A bonus: minty floss freshens breath, too. 5. A mirror. A pocket mirror can be handy when you brush. A post-brush check will reveal whether anything unwanted is still there. An alternative: use the selfie camera in your smart phone. 6. Toothpaste. Travel-sized tubes are convenient. Consider these “nice-to-haves,” too:
  • Orthodontic wax – if a bracket or wire rubs a sore spot, wax quickly puts a stop to the irritation.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen – great to have on hand. Students may be required to leave such medicines with the school nurse.
A little extra effort at home and away pays big dividends in shaping your new smile! The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is open exclusively to orthodontists – only orthodontists are admitted for membership. The only doctors who can call themselves “orthodontists” have graduated from dental school and then successfully completed the additional two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program. When you choose an AAO orthodontist for orthodontic treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a specialist orthodontist, an expert in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Locate AAO orthodontists through Find an Orthodontist at aaoinfo.org.

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Taking Care of your teeth while wearing braces or a retainer.

  •  Remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This helps prevent cavities!
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
  • Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Don't put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy sweets), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy).
  • Make sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

Cleaning Between Teeth with Braces

Having wires that connect your braces from tooth to tooth makes flossing a challenge. But it can be done. Using Oral-B Super Floss, a floss threader (to get under the wires) or another interdental cleaner will help. Just ask us during your appointment and we’ll be happy to recommend our favorites!

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Brushing Your Teeth With Braces

When you have Braces, you should brush your teeth every time you eat.  Plaque needs to be thoroughly removed and with braces, it is even more important.  When you have braces, the wires and brackets create additional places for plaque to hide.  When plaque attaches to your braces and teeth, it can cause cavities, bad breath, swollen gums and stain marks on your teeth.  Brushing twice per day is important, but you should also clean between your teeth with floss at least once every day. After flossing, brush your teeth and braces until they’re clean and shiny.Brookfield ortodontics, ortodontists, braces,brookfield The best time to do this thorough cleaning is at night, right before you go to bed. Also, make sure to continue to see your dentist regularly every six months, or more often if your orthodontist recommends it. Your dentist and hygienist will not only make sure your mouth and teeth are clean, but will also make sure all your braces, brackets and wires are intact and working effectively. An end-rounded bristle toothbrush works well for brushing braces, and your dentist might prescribe fluoride toothpaste to help you fight tooth decay even more. Brush gently but thoroughly. If your braces look clean and shiny and if you can see the edges of the brackets clearly, you’ve done a good job.  Make sure to rinse your mouth after brushing with water, or with a mouth rinse.  Having wires that connect your braces from tooth to tooth makes flossing a challenge. A floss threader may help. Ask your orthodontist for any recommendations on brushes or flossing tools that may help.

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