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How to Clean Fixed and Removable Orthodontic Appliances

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The number of people in the UK getting braces and other orthodontic appliances has rapidly been rising in recent years.

This is because more and more people are paying more attention to their oral health and appearance.

When it comes to both fixed and removable dental braces, it is important to keep them in good shape by learning how to clean braces the right way.

If you never bother to clean them, you will find that your braces won’t help your teeth as much as they’re supposed to. But where should you start?

Keep reading and learn more about how to clean both removable and fixed appliances for your teeth.

How To Clean Braces That Are Fixed

Cleaning fixed orthodontic appliances will be more complicated than cleaning those you can remove.

However, cleaning your fixed braces should be a breeze once you get the hang of it.

The first step involves avoiding certain foods that will be difficult to clean.

For example, when you have braces that you can’t remove, it is essential that you avoid sticky foods at all costs, such as caramel or toffee.

Chewing on these substances will only cause them to get tangled up in your braces, and it will be a nightmare to clean them out.

It is also wise to avoid hard, crunchy foods like nuts that will similarly get stuck in your braces.

Hard foods might even cause your braces to break or otherwise become damaged. This, of course, would warrant an extra and unnecessary trip to the dentist.

As long as you avoid these foods, you won’t have to spend so much time cleaning your braces.

Brushing your teeth often is an excellent way to keep your fixed braces clean. It would help if you aimed to brush your teeth at least twice daily.

However, brushing them after eating every meal is even better.

What You Need to Know

That way, you will ensure that no pieces of food will get stuck behind your braces. This is important because if food manages to get stuck behind your braces and you can’t remove it, you will likely start to suffer from damage to the enamel first which appears as white marks, then tooth decay is a really serious (and rare) situation.

Tooth decay may not start as a big problem, but severe tooth decay can discolour your teeth and damage your tooth enamel until your teeth become very sensitive and painful.

This, of course, is not something you want to deal with if you’re trying to improve the state of your oral health.

When brushing your teeth, it is important to use a soft rather than a firm toothbrush. Firm toothbrushes may damage certain parts of your braces, and the bristles can even remove some of your tooth enamel.

But what should you do if you are out and about and don’t have a toothbrush on hand?

In that case, you should rinse your mouth with water.

Warm water is best since the warmth will help loosen and dislodge any food particles that may be stuck in your braces.

How to Clean Removable Oral Appliances

Cleaning removable oral appliances tend to be easier than cleaning fixed appliances since all the sides of the appliance are more accessible.

However, there are still certain factors that you will need to consider when cleaning them. It is essential to clean your removable appliance at least once a day.

If you let the appliance sit around or don’t clean it as often as you should, bacteria will start to grow on the appliance’s surface.

As you keep putting the appliance in your mouth every day, you will introduce these bacteria to your teeth and gums. This will not only make you more susceptible to tooth decay but other dental concerns as well.

Whenever you take the appliance out of your mouth to eat, we recommend you clean your appliance with a toothbrush whenever possible before you put it back in your mouth.

Using warm water is best, and you should always avoid hot water. This is because hot water may end up deforming the oral appliance, rendering it useless to you.

The Details

For the same reason, you should not try boiling the removable braces.

While at home, you should brush the removable appliance at least once a day. Again, use a brush with soft bristles so you don’t damage or scratch the appliance.

Do not use baking soda to clean the appliance.

Baking soda is too abrasive for removable appliances, and you will only damage them if you try.

If you want to give the removable appliance a deeper clean, you can apply a bit of toothpaste to your toothbrush while you clean it.

Store it in a safe and sterile location when you’re not using the appliance.

You should make sure that you store it in a dry location as well. For that reason, avoid putting the appliance in a plastic bag or wrapping it in materials that don’t breathe well. This will only cause moisture to accumulate, and your removable oral appliance will only become a breeding ground for bacteria.

How To Clean Braces Like a Pro

There are many different types of braces out there, but no matter what type you have, it is important to keep them clean.

Fortunately, learning how to clean braces isn’t hard at all. For removable and fixed braces, you need to use a soft toothbrush to clean them a couple of times a day.

For fixed braces, you should avoid hard or sticky foods, so you won’t have as much trouble cleaning them. To learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us here.

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Dr Andrew McGregor

Andrew completed his three years of orthodontic specialist training in 2010 gaining his Masters degree and Membership in Orthodontics and has worked at Park Orthodontics since then. As an orthodontic specialist he has treated thousands of patients ranging from simple bite correction in children to complex smile and bite makeovers in adults. Andrew is a member of the British Orthodontic Society, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Scottish Orthodontic Specialists Group and the British Lingual Orthodontic Society.

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