How Do I Take Care of My Braces?

“How do I take care of my braces?” is a question we hear often at Delplanche Orthodontics. Knowing how to perform proper braces care is crucial for achieving the best results at the end of treatment. Whether you’re navigating the world of fixed braces or exploring the convenience of clear aligners, we’re here to guide you through the essentials of orthodontic care

What Are Braces?

Braces are an orthodontic treatment type of appliance designed to straighten teeth, correct misaligned bites, and, consequently, improve overall dental health. The most common style of braces consists of brackets glued to the teeth, connected by wires and sometimes bands, which gradually move the teeth into their correct positions over time. We offer traditional metal braces and aesthetic clear braces at Delplanche Orthodontics.

Brackets and wires aren’t the only way to straighten teeth, and Delplanche Orthodontics proudly offers Invisalign clear aligners. This modern alternative to braces is virtually invisible,  completely removable, and custom-made for a perfect fit. They provide a subtle and comfortable treatment option for those looking to straighten their teeth without the look of shiny braces. Invisalign is the most popular orthodontic treatment appliance at Delplanche Orthodontics due to its overall convenience to our patients’ lifestyles.

Metal, clear, and removable aligners are all effective ways to improve your alignment, and for the most part, they work entirely on autopilot. With the expertise of Dr. Delplanche, a Board Certified Orthodontic Specialist, all you’ll need to do is come in for adjustments and progress appointments and take care of your orthodontic appliances. Of course, Dr. Delplanche and his team will have specific instructions for you, but we make it as easy as possible for you to achieve your smile goals with the best treatment plan possible.

How To Clean Fixed Braces

First, let’s start with how to keep your fixed braces clean. Maintaining clean braces is crucial for oral health and the success of your orthodontic treatment. Fixed braces care can be daunting to new patients, but it doesn’t need to be. Here’s how to keep your braces sparkling and your mouth healthy:

  • Brush Regularly: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45-degree angle at least twice daily to remove food particles. Be sure you get the top and bottom of your brackets and all the surfaces of your teeth! 
  • Floss Daily: Flossing removes debris between teeth and braces where your brush can’t reach, making it essential for daily braces care.
    • Use a floss threader or orthodontic floss to thread the floss behind the wire.
    • Gently move the floss up and down the sides of each tooth.
    • A water flosser can help keep the mouth pristine by thoroughly cleaning hard-to-reach places quickly.
    • Interdental or interproximal brushes are perfect for cleaning around brackets and wires. They remove food particles and plaque from areas that are hard to reach with a regular toothbrush.
  • Rinse with Mouthwash: Use fluoride mouthwash to rinse away particles and reduce the risk of cavities and white spots.

Following these braces care steps ensures your braces stay clean, leading to a healthier mouth and a more beautiful smile.

How To Clean Invisalign

There is a common misconception that clear aligners don’t need to be cleaned—or at least, not as often as brushing your teeth. But that’s not true; you must clean your Invisalign clear aligners daily to maintain cleanliness, oral health, and their transparent aesthetic. Fortunately, care for aligners is pretty simple!

  • Rinse Upon Removal: Each time you remove your aligners, rinse them under lukewarm water to wash away saliva and plaque. Avoid hot water, as it can warp the plastic.
  • Soak for Sparkle: Use Invisalign cleaning crystals, denture cleaner or an aligner cleaning foam to soak your aligners. This product helps remove any buildup and keeps the aligners fresh and clear. We have a whitening and mint-flavored whitening foam available for purchase for our patients to help aid in keeping your aligners fresh and clean.
  • Brush and Floss Your Teeth: Before reinserting your aligners, ensure your teeth are clean to maintain oral hygiene and prevent trapping harmful particles between your teeth and the aligner.

It’s as easy as that to keep your aligners spotless! 

Note: If you don’t have any Invisalign Cleaning Crystals handy, you can also use unscented, antibacterial soap. Be sure to check with board-certified Dr. Delplanche before using any products on your aligners. You don’t want to damage them accidentally.

How Do I Take Care of My Braces?

How To Care For Your Fixed Braces

Braces care goes beyond just flossing and brushing. It’s also important to keep your braces undamaged. 

Food & Braces

Whether you or someone you know has fixed braces, you’ve probably heard the question, “What can I eat with braces?” while surveying the food options or grocery store. That’s because eating the wrong food can dislodge your brackets from your teeth or damage your wires! Here are some tips to keep your braces safe at mealtime:

  • Foods to Avoid: Hard, sticky, and chewy foods can damage your braces and prolong your treatment. Avoid hard nuts, candies, and ice. Sticky foods like caramel and chewing gum can get caught in your braces, leading to damage and decay.
  • Eating Techniques: For fruits, vegetables, and other firm foods, cut them into small, bite-sized pieces. Chew slowly and use your back teeth to avoid putting pressure on your braces.
  • Healthy Choices: Embrace soft foods and those that are braces-friendly. Soups, yogurt, pasta, boneless meat, and soft-cooked vegetables are excellent choices that minimize the risk of damaging your braces.

Sports & Braces

Brackets and wires don’t stop you or your children from participating in athletic activities! You can still confidently sign up for all your favorite sports. However, Dr. Delplanche highly recommends that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces and teeth. A properly fitted mouthguard can prevent damage to your braces and the soft tissues of your mouth during impact. They’re essential for braces care, so don’t forget to tell Dr. Delplanche you need one!

Braces & Orthodontic Emergencies

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your braces can become broken. Damage can be from eating the wrong food, forgetting your mouthguard at home, falling…it doesn’t happen often, but broken braces can happen! If you ever have broken braces, you should contact us immediately so we can help schedule a time to have them repaired. In the meantime, you should perform the following braces care…

  • Loose or Broken Brackets: If a bracket becomes loose or breaks, cover any sharp edges with orthodontic wax and contact your orthodontist as soon as possible. Avoid connecting elastics or attempting to adjust it yourself.
  • Poking Wires: Use the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-tip to gently push a poking wire down. Apply orthodontic wax to create a buffer between the wire and your mouth. 
  • No DIY: Do not ever try to remove or reglue your broken brackets or wires. DIY repairs will only cause further damage. 

How To Care For Your Clear Aligners

Like your fixed braces, caring for your clear aligners involves more than just keeping them clean; it’s also crucial to store them safely when not in use. Whenever you remove your aligners to eat, drink anything other than water, or brush your teeth, always place them in their designated case. This simple habit prevents several potential problems:

  • Loss Prevention: Aligners are clear and can easily be misplaced or thrown away if left on a napkin or plate. Keeping them in their case any time they are not in your mouth makes them more noticeable and less likely to be lost.
  • Hygiene: Exposing aligners to open air can attract bacteria and dust. Storing them in their case keeps them clean and safe for reinsertion.
  • Protection: A case shields your aligners from accidental damage, such as being stepped on or crushed.

Remember, your aligners are an investment in your smile. Incorporating their case into your aligner care routine ensures they remain in perfect condition to do their job effectively.

How Do I Take Care of My Braces?

Visit Delplanche Orthodontics For More Information!

The journey to a straighter smile comes with responsibilities, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. With the right care and a little diligence, managing your braces or clear aligners can seamlessly blend into your daily routine. Remember, every moment spent caring for your orthodontic appliances is a step closer to unveiling the beautiful, healthy smile you’ve been wanting. Let’s make every day count on this transformative journey together.

Contact our Beaverton or Lake Oswego teams to ask about braces care or schedule a free consultation