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The addition of orthodontics hardware to your mouth can make it difficult to keep everything clean. The extra hardware provides extra surface area for food debris, plaque, and acids to sit on your teeth and gums and to create problems for your mouth.

The bacteria in your mouth find crevices to hide in and around your orthodontics hardware and in between your teeth. As the bacteria multiply, they come together into a biofilm called plaque. The biofilm then digests food particles left in your mouth. This process produces an acid, which collects on your teeth and etches into the areas immediately around your brackets and bands. This produces white, chalky spots on your teeth. These spots can be avoided as you learn to properly care for your braces.

Brush: When brushing your teeth, hold the brush at a 45 degree angle at the base of your teeth, at the gum line. Brush back and forth using gentle strokes, then sweep the brush toward the biting surface of your teeth. Make sure to brush the top, bottom, and front surfaces of your brackets.

Floss: Use a threader and regular dental floss to remove plaque between teeth. It does take a little extra time to thread floss under the wires, but it is necessary to remove plaque and food debris before they can damage enamel.

Oral Irrigation Systems: These specialized tools are available at major retail chains and drugstores. They produce a thin, powerful stream of water or saline to flush around your teeth and orthodontic hardware. Though oral irrigation systems are an excellent addition to an oral hygiene routine, they should never be used to replace brushing and flossing. The three together can help maintain a healthy, beautiful smile throughout orthodontic care.

For more information about caring for your braces, call Lee A. Mahlmann, DDS, MS, Inc. in Richmond, Texas, at 281-342-6311. Dr. Lee A. Mahlmann and our team are happy to help!