Oral hygiene isn’t just key to achieving a perfect Hollywood smile and ensuring that your breath is always minty fresh when spending time with loved ones, friends, and perfect strangers. It is also integral to overall health, with oral hygiene connected to everything from gum disease and tooth decay to heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
This is because, when you don’t maintain a proper oral hygiene routine, which focuses on brushing properly, flossing, and visiting the dentist on a regular basis, bacteria is given the perfect habitat in which to thrive, build up, and multiply. This bacteria, when it is allowed to build up, leads to infections and inflammation of the gums that surround your teeth – spreading to the rest of the body with alarming ease.
Of course, for those facing orthodontic work, oral hygiene becomes somewhat more challenging to navigate. Braces, which are fixed to the teeth and connected via a wire that is tightened regularly, create a literal barrier between your cleaning tools and your teeth – making oral hygiene more difficult. Despite this, maintaining good oral hygiene throughout the treatment process is crucial, not just to ensure the best results, but to support your overall health and wellbeing as well.
In this blog, we’re looking at the benefits of clear braces before diving into the tips and best practices to maintain oral hygiene throughout treatment.
What are clear aligners vs clear braces?
Clear aligners and clear braces are two different things. Clear aligners have been engineered as an orthodontic alternative, which sees patients fitted with a series of aligners that are worn for up to 22 hours per day, and which gradually straighten the alignment of the teeth. Every week or so, the aligner is changed to continue the movement of the teeth, until the final position is reached.
Clear braces, on the other hand, are fixed to the teeth as clear boxes – connected by a wire, which is tightened on the same kind of regular basis to keep up with and facilitate non-stop movement of the teeth. The idea of both clear braces and clear aligners is the same, but while aligners can be removed completely and cleaned independently from the mouth, clear braces are fixed to the teeth, and so must be cleaned as part of your oral hygiene routine.
The benefits of clear braces
In terms of the benefits of clear braces and why so many adults are getting in touch to discuss their eligibility for the treatment, the answer is two-fold.
Firstly, clear braces are designed to remain in place until the ideal results have been achieved – with the patient or client unable to remove or get in the way of their own treatment. Regular visits to the dentist allow the wire to be tightened for continuous aligning of the teeth, pulling them back into the desired position under the watchful monitoring of your dentist.
The fact that the boxes fixed to the teeth are clear, meanwhile, means that the braces are not as visible, which is the main reason why these are so popular with adult users. Far from the colourful boxes of childhood braces, this alternative for adults is carefully designed to blend against the teeth – with the decision to keep the boxes clear meaning that they match the colour and tone of your natural teeth with ease.
With that said, how do you keep them clean and maintain your oral health throughout the treatment process?
How to maintain oral hygiene with clear braces
It’s just as important to clean around and underneath the wire as it is to clean the surface of the teeth. Not only should you be focussed on removing plaque and bacteria, but you also need to keep the surface of your teeth clean to ensure that you are not left with white boxes once the brace is removed. While teeth whitening services can go some way to perfecting and reinstating a gleaming white smile after orthodontic and aligning treatment, taking the time to clean your teeth effectively and regularly is important.
Some of the best ways to maintain oral hygiene during your clear brace treatment include:
- Brushing your teeth after every meal or snack, to ensure that any food that gets stuck around or beneath the wire can be dislodged quickly
- Brushing with a soft bristle brush at an angle, to ensure that the brush reaches up and under the wire
- Flossing daily
- Brushing on top of and beneath the brackets, taking the time to reach up under the wire as well
- Cleaning around the gums with your soft bristle brush, to ensure that any build-up of bacteria is effectively removed
- Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride twice per day to keep your mouth fresh
Achieving a picture-perfect smile with clear braces
There are so many benefits to clear braces, not just in terms of the process, but regarding the results and how long they last. Clear braces are designed to definitively and effectively move the teeth into your desired position, with retainer braces prescribed upon removal of the fixed brace to ensure that teeth don’t revert back to their original position.
With the right care and attention, and the maintenance of a good oral hygiene routine throughout the treatment process, you can achieve a picture-perfect smile that is straighter and shinier than ever before.
To end with a few final tips and words of advice, remember that, when caring for and maintaining your teeth under a fixed brace, it’s not just the cleaning you need to focus on. Avoiding certain foods and drinks is just as important if you want to maintain good oral health – for example steering clear of sticky and very chewy foods, which can get stuck around the brackets and wire, and limiting your intake of sugary foods, which can damage the enamel of your teeth and leave you with a cavity problem.
Caring for your teeth doesn’t have to be more difficult with a fixed clear brace in place. Get in touch with your dentist directly for tailored guidance and advice.