Posted .

Adding orthodontics hardware to your mouth can make it difficult to clean. Extra hardware provides increased surface area for food debris, plaque, and acids to sit on your teeth and gums and create problems in your mouth.

The bacteria in your mouth hide in crevices in and around your orthodontics hardware and between your teeth. As the bacteria colonies multiply, the bacteria coalesce into a biofilm called plaque. The plaque then digests food particles left in your mouth. This process produces an acid byproduct, which collects on your teeth and etches into the areas around your brackets and bands. This produces white, chalky unsightly spots. Luckily, these spots can be avoided as you learn to correctly care for your braces.

Brush: When you brush your teeth, hold the brush at a 45* angle at the base of the gums. Brush back and forth gently using short strokes, then sweep the brush toward the biting surface of your teeth. Make sure to brush the top and bottom surfaces of the brackets, as well as the front. It may be beneficial to hold the lip out of the way with one hand while brushing with the other to clean the entire surface.

Floss: Use a threader and regular dental floss to remove plaque between teeth. To protect your orthodontic investment, take the time daily to thread floss under the wires to remove plaque and food debris before they can damage enamel.

Oral Irrigation Systems: These specialized tools are available at many major retail chains and most drugstores. They produce a thin, powerful stream of water to flush around your teeth and orthodontic hardware. They are an excellent addition to an oral hygiene routine; they should never be used to replace brushing and flossing.

For more information about caring for your braces, call Planet Dental in Laredo, Texas, at 956-242-4245. Drs. Labbe and Staat are happy to help!