Just imagine: your orthodontist finally removes your braces and holds up the mirror to reveal perfectly straight teeth...filled with cavities! Don't let this nightmare happen to you, clean your braces care.
Step 1: Consult orthodontist Consult your orthodontist for any specific brushing and flossing instructions, as well products recommendations.
Step 2: Remove rubber bands If you use rubber bands, remove them from your braces before you brush.
Step 3: Brush often Brush your teeth at least four times a day, and after every meal, with a soft bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
TIP: Be sure to get a new toothbrush every three months--braces have a tendency to wear brushes down quickly.
Step 4: Brush in circles Brush in small circles, wiggling the brush around the contours and crevices of the braces, spending about 10-15 seconds on each tooth.
Step 5: Brush all over Brush your gums, the roof of your mouth, and the inside of your cheeks.
TIP: You can also try an inter-proximal brush, which looks sort of like a pipe cleaner and helps you remove plaque from difficult-to-reach areas.
Step 6: Rinse mouth Rinse your mouth thoroughly with mouthwash or water after brushing.
Step 7: Floss Floss at least once a day with 18 inches of waxed floss.
TIP: Using a floss threader might make this process easier.
Step 8: Thread floss Thread the floss under the main wire and between two teeth.
Step 9: Floss up & down Move the floss up and down along the sides of each of the teeth.
Step 10: Continue flossing Continue threading and flossing until you've cleaned between each tooth and behind the last tooth.
Step 11: Rinse mouth again Rinse your mouth again with mouthwash or water.
Step 12: Replace rubber bands Replace any rubber bands, and remind yourself that one day this all be history--and you'll have beautiful teeth to show for it.
FACT: Think braces are pricey now? At the turn of the 19th century they were made from silver, platinum and fourteen- to eighteen-karat gold.