How Do I Clean And Care For My Braces?

At White Oak Dental & Orthodontics, we understand that getting braces is a significant step toward achieving the smile you’ve always wanted. But what comes next is equally essential—mastering braces care! Whether you’ve opted for traditional metal braces, innovative clear braces, or the sleek invisibility of clear aligners, knowing how to clean and care for them is important for a smooth and successful orthodontic journey. Below are tips for excellent braces care from our board-certified orthodontist, Dr. Lai.

How To Clean Your Fixed Braces

Maintaining clean braces is crucial for the success of your treatment. A consistent, beneficial routine will keep your teeth healthy and your braces in good condition. The last thing you want is a cavity with braces or broken brackets (see How To Handle An Orthodontic Emergency below)! Luckily, cleaning braces isn’t as complex as it might seem.

  • Brushing with Braces
    • You should use a manual or electric toothbrush with soft bristles. 
    • Brush after every meal to prevent food particles from sticking to your braces.
    • Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to clean around the wires and brackets of your braces.
    • Brush each tooth at the gum line and above and below the brackets to remove all plaque and debris.
  • Flossing With Braces
    • Flossing with braces might require some practice at first, but it is essential to floss twice a day. Waxed floss is ideal for braces care, and floss threaders can make it easier to get around the brackets.
    • Gently move the floss around the sides of each tooth and under the gum line. 
    • Water flossers are excellent for fixed braces. They remove food debris, plaque, and bacteria in hard-to-reach areas. 

By following these simple steps, you can keep your fixed braces clean and your treatment on track. Remember—a clean mouth contributes to a more effective and enjoyable orthodontic journey!

How To Take Care Of Braces

Proper braces care extends beyond brushing and flossing. Here’s how you can ensure the longevity of your orthodontic appliance and minimize the risk of uncomfortable inconveniences:

  • Watch What You Eat
    • Avoid Hard and Sticky Foods: Crunchy snacks, chewy candies, and hard foods can damage your braces. Opt for softer foods that are easier on your brackets and wires.
    • Cut Food into Small Pieces: Large bites can exert unnecessary pressure on your braces. Cut fruits, vegetables, and other foods into smaller pieces to make them more manageable. This habit also allows you to see if anything potentially harmful lurks inside.
  • Wear Mouthguards To Sports Practice
    • If you’re involved in sports or physical activities, wear a mouthguard. Your braces are durable but not invincible! Mouthguards protect your braces and teeth from potential impacts.
  • Take A Braces Care Kit With You Everywhere
    • Create a braces care kit to carry with you on the go. Your kit should include a travel-size toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste, an interdental brush, waxed floss, and orthodontic wax. Optional items are a mirror and a portable water flosser. 
  • How To Handle An Orthodontic Emergency
    • Loose or Broken Brackets: If a bracket becomes loose or breaks, cover it with wax and contact White Oak Dental and Orthodontics as soon as possible.
    • Protruding Wire: If a wire is causing irritation, try pushing it back into place with a cotton swab or pencil eraser. Use orthodontic wax to hold it. You could also try to cut the wire very carefully.
    • No DIY: Do not attempt to fix your broken braces yourself. Please contact Dr. Lai immediately to schedule an appointment. Any at-home repairs will likely cause more harm than good.
How Do I Clean And Care For My Braces?

How To Clean Clear Aligners

There is a misconception in some patients that the removability of clear aligners means they do not need to be cleaned. After all, they’re out of the mouth when you eat and in a case when you’re not wearing them. Why should you have to clean them?

Well, removable braces can become a breeding ground for bacteria and plaque. If you brush your teeth without cleaning your braces, you’re just reintroducing the residue you removed. Cleaning your Invisalign and Spark clear aligners also helps to maintain their transparency, keeping them as unnoticeable as possible for longer. This is a key aspect of braces care that ensures both hygiene and aesthetics.

Here’s how to do it:

For daily cleaning, gently brush your aligners with a soft-bristled manual toothbrush and lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water as it can warp the plastic. Use mild, non-abrasive toothpaste or an unscented antibacterial soap to ensure thorough cleaning. 

If you have Invisalign clear aligners, try their Invisalign Cleaning Crystals instead of brushing them. It’s a braces cleaner specifically designed for their aligners, which can help remove any lingering plaque or odor.

How To Care For Clear Aligners

Though removable braces do not require you to change your diet or relearn how to brush your teeth, they do still require some adjustment to your daily routine. 

Clear aligners must be worn for 20-22 a day and should only be removed for eating, drinking, and performing oral hygiene. During the few hours you’re not wearing them, you should always put them in their protective case. This case is crucial to your clear aligners care. It will make your aligners easier to keep up with, protect them from physical harm, reduce their exposure to extreme temperatures, and shelter them from germs. 

If something does happen to your clear aligners, such as loss or damage, contact our office immediately to request replacements and instructions. Attempting to wear a damaged aligner or the wrong aligner (or neglecting to wear one at all) can hinder your progress. 

How Do I Clean And Care For My Braces?

See Dr. Lai For Check-Ups & Adjustments

Regular appointments with Dr. Lai and our White Oak Dental and Orthodontic team at our Avenel location are a pivotal part of your orthodontic journey, ensuring your treatment progresses smoothly. Whether you have fixed braces or clear aligners, these check-ups are essential for adjustments, professional guidance, and braces care.

Contact us today to receive personalized advice or schedule your complimentary orthodontic consultation!