There’s no doubt that braces are good for your teeth. Crooked teeth are harder to clean, wear unevenly, and are more susceptible to cavities and gum diseases. Having a “good bite” also helps you chew and bite correctly, articulate properly and even contributes to the development of your facial structure and posture.
But while braces can help you achieve beautifully aligned teeth, you want to ensure they’re also healthy and free from cavities when the braces come off, which means you must take their cleaning into your own hands. Your orthodontist will show you how to clean – the rest is on you.
It might require a bit of extra effort due to the pesky wires and clasps in your mouth. But once you understand the reasons and the method, it will become a simple and natural part of your self-care routine.
How (good) biofilm turns to (bad) plaque
Just like everywhere else in nature, there’s always some bacteria in your mouth. Your teeth are home to about 700 different species of bacteria, which create structures called biofilm. This biofilm is important in keeping your mouth healthy and safeguarding your teeth from erosive acids.
However, this biofilm also means that bacteria live and breed in a protected environment, which makes it easier for them to produce a lot of waste. The bigger and stronger the biofilm becomes, the more waste the bacteria produce. This waste offsets the chemical balance on your teeth and leads to tooth decay, bad breath and all sorts of gum disease. When the biofilm becomes too thick and strong, we call it dental plaque.
Braces create perfect areas for the buildup of plaque
If you don’t keep plaque under control, it can lead to various dental challenges. It can prolong your orthodontic treatment or cause adverse post-treatment issues once your braces are removed, such as cavities, discolouration or demineralisation of teeth.
Teeth are naturally intricate, which already makes their cleaning a bit challenging. Wearing braces adds to the complexity due to all the additional nooks, wires and clasps. But don’t worry, now you’ll discover the proper techniques to keep your teeth truly clean while wearing braces.
Disrupt plaque gently with ortho tools
Naturally, we aim to prevent plaque buildup on our teeth, gumline and interdental spaces. The only way to break down the biofilm is by physically disrupting its structure, so unfortunately no chewing gum or mouthwash will do that job for you.
To keep bacteria from accumulating you need the mechanical action of a toothbrush, plus a proper toothbrushing technique – including interdental brushing, and precise cleaning around the braces and on the braces themselves. Using a wide array of brushes and other appliances from Curaprox, daily and thoroughly, is the best way of making sure that your braces and teeth stay impeccably clean.
1. The largest areas first
Bacteria thrive in cozy, hidden spots, like where your gums hug your teeth. Hence, focus on the gumline first and then brush around the more exposed parts of the braces. Bear in mind that “the harder the better” does not apply to your teeth. We don’t want to get rid of the biofilm by scrubbing it away, we simply want to disrupt it with gentle movements, without any pressure.
If you want a dramatic increase in cleaning efficiency use the Hydrosonic pro power brush head, which was specifically developed for people with braces, implants, sensitive enamel and gum disease. Thanks to its hydrodynamic effect it effectively disturbs the tooth plaque – and not only in the most exposed areas, but also in the niches, the sulcus and the entrances to the interdental spaces.
If you prefer brushing manually, use the Curaprox CS 5460 ortho toothbrush, which was specifically designed for wearers of braces. It boasts 5,460 filaments on the brush head, which are cut slightly shorter in the middle to perfectly wrap around braces and clasps and clean more effectively.
Whichever toothbrush you pick, remember that these steps are the alpha and omega of cleaning.
Start by cleaning the gumline and upper tooth area above the braces using tiny, gentle circular movements. Position the toothbrush at an angle of about 45 degrees towards the gumline, and placed half on your teeth, half on your gums.
2. Precision cleaning
Once you’ve done the majority of your brushing using your main toothbrush, use a single brush for even more precise control around the trickiest bits of your braces. Single toothbrushes are designed in a unique shape that lets you access areas a standard brush might miss. These brushes are not only excellent for cleaning the harder-to-reach places and the gumline, but also for effectively cleaning the braces themselves, including brackets, wires, removable aligners and retainers.
Start with precision cleaning around the gumline with the Hydrosonic pro single brush head or the Curaprox CS 1006 single toothbrush. Both are designed to specifically clean where bacteria are well concealed: in the niches between the teeth and under the gumline.
They are also great for cleaning the gumline when braces are high up on the teeth. Just take it tooth after after tooth with small up-and-down movements and no pressure.
3. Clean in between the teeth
Ordinary toothbrushes can’t reach all the surfaces of your teeth, leaving 30% uncleaned. So, for a thorough clean, remember to use interdental brushes. This is especially important when you have braces, because your moving teeth can create new spaces for bacteria that loves living undisturbed. Using interdental brushes helps reduce your risk of cavities, as this usually starts in these tight spaces between your teeth. So, don’t skip interdental brushing.
If you never used interdentals, here’s how to start:
- Have your intеrdental spaces measured by your dentist.
- Get interdental brushes that match the sizes of your spaces (bear in mind these sizes will keep changing as your teeth move into their new positions).
- Start cleaning your interdental spaces every day.
Curaprox CPS 07 prime start is a good choice to start with, since it’s suitable for the most narrow spaces. All of our interdental brushes provide effective prevention against inflammation and bad breath. A single cleaning movement is enough – once in, once out, and you’re done.
Other useful helpers
Now that your teeth and braces are perfectly clean, here’s a little treat – especially for the first week of wearing braces: the Curaprox Ortho wax. This wax comes in handy when you feel parts of the braces irritating your lips, cheeks or gums. Just apply the wax to the brackets, hooks or wires that are bothering you and protect your gums from abrasions.
Take a small piece of wax, warm it in your fingers and push it onto the problematic area. Make sure your brackets are dry otherwise the wax won’t stick. Remove before eating.
If you are looking for a handy kit that will help keep your braces and teeth clean even when on the move, reach for the Curaprox Ortho Travel set. It contains the CS 5460 ortho travel toothbrush, ‘Be you’ toothpaste, 3 different interdental brushes, and a practical duo-holder for interdental brushes. All packed in a small and stylish case to help you keep up your perfect oral hygiene in every situation.
Whether your orthodontic journey is just beginning, or you are a seasoned braces wearer, all these handy tools are here for your comfort. They will help you gently and thoroughly clean your braces, teeth, and gums, so that when one day the braces come off, your newly straight teeth will still be as healthy as ever.