5 Tools For Keeping Your Braces Clean
February 16, 2012 – reprinted with permission from damonbraces.com
I admit it: I have slacked in the oral hygiene department a little bit lately. The first time I visited my hygienist after getting my braces on, she was so happy to see how clean I’d kept them! I had been super-diligent about brushing and flossing thoroughly— several times a day. This last time, though, she just said “Hmm…” for shame! Since that moment, I’ve been on a mission to get my teeth in such sparkling order that my hygienist will give me a standing ovation at our next visit. To achieve this goal, I’ll be using these five tools to help:
1. Floss Threaders
These little lassos help you thread floss under the wire so you can get down to the gum line and all the way between the teeth. They take a little getting used to, but I’ve found them to be invaluable.
2. Waxed Floss
Thin waxed floss glides between and around the teeth and braces so much more easily than unwaxed, which tends to get caught and even shred up during flossing. You can also buy floss with a hard end for “threading” into your teeth in case you’d like to skip the threader, but personally, I have an easier time working with the threader.
3. Dental Picks
These are essential for helping dislodge food that has become stuck in your brackets or wrapped around wires. A dental pick is a good first step when you’re about to start your nightly brushing routine, but it’s also a great thing to have on hand when you go out to eat, in case you have to run to the bathroom for a little food removal.
4. A Proxabrush
Sometimes referred to as “go-betweens,” these look like little pipe cleaners and are used just like you’d expect—they “go between” braces and teeth to clean food and plaque. They don’t replace floss, but they are great for using on-the-go to get food from between your teeth and also do a great job cleaning the brackets themselves. Make sure you get a few different sizes—the really small ones work best for cleaning the gaps that form between teeth, while the larger ones seem easier to maneuver around back teeth.
5. Patience and Time
Okay, so it isn’t really a tool, but patience might be the most important part of your brushing routine when you braces. It takes a while to learn how to maneuver around braces with floss and other tools! Over time you will become more skilled and the process will become easier, but it’s still a good idea to set aside 10 minutes or so, morning and night, to make sure you do a really great job on your teeth. Taking these tips into account, you’ll be sure to be congratulated by your hygienist