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Can You Get Your Teeth Cleaned While Wearing Braces?

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a young girl has her teeth cleaned while wearing braces

Regular dental exams and cleanings are essential to maintaining peak oral health as changes in your mouth and teeth occur throughout life. Cleanings are even more important if you have an orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth. 

Braces are a dental tool or device that corrects problems in adults and children such as crooked teeth, misaligned jaw or bite, crowding in the mouth, or simply adjusting a smile. While there are some things to avoid when you have braces, teeth cleaning is not one of them. 

Yes, you can and should get your teeth cleaned while wearing braces. Let’s learn more about braces and why it’s imperative to maintain a cleaning routine. 

About Braces

Braces include metal or ceramic bands, wires, and fixed or removable corrective appliances that attach to the teeth. These alter tooth alignment by moving them slowly over time. 

Treatment length for braces varies in individuals and depends on:

  • The severity of the problem
  • Amount of space or crowding in the mouth
  • Distance teeth need to move
  • Overall oral health, including teeth, gums, and supporting bone
  • Compliance

On average, treatment length can range from 1 to 3 years. And this is a long enough time to affect your oral hygiene efforts. 

Braces & Oral Hygiene

There’s no doubt that cleaning around your braces can be tricky. They can make dental cleaning more difficult but not impossible. 

Dental plaque is that sticky film that forms on your teeth from bacteria buildup every day when you eat, drink, and breathe. If this plaque remains, it can lead to tartar buildup, decay, and gum disease. 

All parts of your braces, including the wires, rubber bands, springs, and other appliances, can attract and trap food and plaque. And these increase your risk of developing plaque and tartar buildup.

General steps that you can take to remove or prevent plaque buildup when wearing braces include:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and if possible, after each meal, with proper technique and for at least 2 minutes.
  • Floss at least once a day. You can also use water flossers. 
  • Use a fluoride mouthwash to help protect your teeth from decay. 
  • Avoid or limit sugary food and drinks. Hard, sticky, chewy candy, popcorn, and chewing gum can get trapped in your braces.
close up image of a woman flossing around her braces

Cleaning Teeth with Braces

Even with a daily dental care routine, professional cleanings can thoroughly remove any buildup of debris and plaque for those wearing braces. Your dentist or dental hygienist can identify any problem areas around your braces and offer suggestions to help manage your oral hygiene. 

Anyone with braces should visit their dentist for regular cleanings every 6 months or more often if recommended. What’s the difference between teeth cleaning and teeth cleaning with braces? 

Nothing much really except that the dental hygienist may take longer and provide extra care to prevent damage to the brackets, wires, or bands that hold your braces together. Braces can be tricky to clean, but they can clean the hard-to-reach places like the back of the mouth, around the brackets, and along the gumline without disturbing your braces. 

Teeth cleaning with braces involves the following:

  • They will scale the teeth and remove any plaque or tartar from the surface and around the gum line.
  • After scaling, they will polish the teeth to remove any discolouration on the teeth’s surface. 
  • Flossing the teeth with a looped tool removes leftover debris in between the teeth without affecting the wires. 
  • Lastly, a fluoride treatment in a gel or foam applied on the teeth remineralizes and strengthens the enamel and helps prevent cavities.  

After teeth cleaning with braces, you can expect some soreness in the gums, but this does not last long. Avoid eating or drinking anything for an hour after to get the most from the fluoride treatment. 

Healthy Teeth with Braces

Braces may offer you a great smile, but imagine having a great smile and healthy teeth at the end of your treatment. Maintaining good oral hygiene and professional cleaning while wearing braces can significantly impact your oral health. 

To avoid tooth decay and gum disease, call Heritage Pointe Dental today to request an appointment for your next cleaning. 

Written by Dr. Michael Trac

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