Braces are the answer to straighter and correctly aligned teeth.
However, wearing braces comes a whole new world of considerations for your dental health.
The good news is, that if you are a brace wearer, or about to get them, then this article is just for you.
We answer the question of what is the best toothpaste, the best mouthwash, floss and orthodontic kits for braces.
Dental professionals offer the standard advice of brushing twice daily and flossing once a day. However, for those wearing a brace, a fixed brace, that recommendation tends to change to brushing 3 times a day.
Brackets and arch-wires used to align the teeth are fantastic, but they are too brilliant places for bacteria to reside and plaque to form. The increased surface area and space for plaque formation means that the cleanliness of the mouth is even more important with a brace.
You will probably have seen or experienced first hand just how easy it is for bits of food to get caught in the brace, it can be unsightly and even lead to bad breath; and those are just the bits you can see, just think of all the microscopic bits!
Increasing your brushing routine from 2 to 3 times a day, plus adding in the extra time necessary to floss and clean round the brace can be tricky for many and there is a desire to stick to just twice a day. But, food particles that are allowed to remain in brackets until the evening clean will start developing into plaque and put your oral health at more risk.
Plaque forms very soon after brushing, in fact, it is a continuous cycle really as the bacteria feed off of the food and drink we eat. As a general rule, the cleaner the mouth and the freer it is from food particles the slower plaque will form, but don’t panic there is no need to be brushing the teeth every couple of hours.
Finding that extra few minutes in your day to give your teeth the extra clean is important. Even if you can’t find as much time as you would ideally like, a minute or so giving some attention to your teeth and brace post food will go a lot further than paying no attention at all.
Check out our article on the best electric toothbrushes for braces but it is not always practical to take an electric toothbrush with you to clean the brace, so in this article, we’ll have a look at some other options: toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss.
Best Toothpaste For Braces
Whether you are shopping online or you are looking at the shelves in the grocery store, the number of choices you have for toothpaste is simply quite amazing.
Do you go for Crest, Oral-B, Colgate, Sensodyne, Aquafresh, Arm & Hammer or any other choices?
Is it the sensitive, whitening, repair and protect or the mint flavor?!! Ahh so much to choose from, that is all before you start wondering why is that tube $2 and that tube $8, what makes that so special that it is 4x the price?
We want to make this simple for you.
There is no one best toothpaste for braces.
Unless you have been given directions by your orthodontist to use a specific product for some reason, you need to as a minimum look for and make use of a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Most of the typical over the counter/off the shop shelf toothpastes contains this ingredient.
Fluoride based toothpastes are the recommendation for almost all patients with very few exceptions. Fluoride helps to keep your teeth healthy and strong, protecting the tooth surface as best as possible from decay. As the acids in the mouth that form after eating break down the enamel (at a microscopic level) the saliva and fluoride work to counteract this.
Where fluoride is not present, they can be a higher likelihood of that patient developing dental caries.
Even if the local water supply in your area contains fluoride, still purchase a toothpaste with this in it.
Few of us wish to have dull and yellow teeth, even though yellow teeth is quite natural in many cases. We understand the desire for White teeth and a set of lovely White teeth can certainly help give that confidence to smile.
When wearing a brace AVOID using a whitening toothpaste.
If you were to use when wearing a brace, the whitening paste is only going to come into contact with the part of the tooth that is not hidden by the brackets.
What this means is that if the whitening paste works, when the brace comes off, you can be left with marks/stains where the bracket has been bonded to the tooth and it will then be necessary to find ways to restore an even color to the teeth.
You should wait until any orthodontic work is complete before whitening the teeth, this way you can be assured of a consistent color enhancement across all teeth.
So whilst there is no one best toothpaste, some of our favorites, all of which are American Dental Association approved, are:
|CloSYS Fluoride Toothpaste, 7 Ounce, Gentle Mint, Whitening, Sulfate Free,||937 Reviews||$12.99 $9.99||View on Amazon|
|Crest Pro-Health Advanced Deep Clean Mint Toothpaste, Pack of 2.||1,147 Reviews||View on Amazon|
|Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste with Fluoride - 6 Ounce (Pack of 6)||4,544 Reviews||$14.94 $7.92||View on Amazon|
Best Mouthwash For Braces
Mouthwash has a place, but if you are using is straight after brushing your teeth, STOP!
You should not rinse your mouth out with water, or mouthwash after brushing your teeth.
This might come as a bit of a surprise to you, but by doing so, you are essentially washing away a lot of the good done by the toothpaste. The effective ingredient, fluoride is a higher dose in toothpaste compared with mouthwash.
So, if you can do something positive today, it would be to stop this habit.
Mouthwash is best used in between brushing sessions. Maybe in the middle of the morning or the afternoon, where you wish to have a cleaner and fresher mouth, but don’t need or want to brush at this time.
Whilst nothing beats brushing and flossing, rinsing the mouth out with mouthwash 30-60 minutes or so after having a meal, sugary or acidic drink is when you will benefit most. The mouth rinse can be helpful to try and rid the mouth of damaging bacteria.
Always best to follow the directions given on the bottle of mouthwash for best effect, but be sure to give the rinse a good swish around the mouth. Ensure it gets in all the gaps around the teeth and to not only coat and protect the teeth, but to also dislodge some of the bacteria that you can then spit out.
Just like the toothpaste there is not necessarily one best mouthwash to use with a brace.
You may have a preference for a particular brand or perhaps prefer one without alcohol, a common ingredient in mouthwash that gives many of them the cleaning power that they offer.
Some of our favorites (all ADA approved) are:
|TheraBreath Gluten-Free Fresh Breath Oral Rinse, Icy Mint, 16 Ounce Bottle (Pack of 2)||2,668 Reviews||$13.86||View on Amazon|
|ACT Alcohol Free Anticavity Fluoride Rinse, Mint - 18 oz - 2 pk||141 Reviews||$14.16||View on Amazon|
|Listerine Freshburst Antiseptic Mouthwash with Germ-Killing Oral Care Formula to Fight Bad Breath,...||3,317 Reviews||$5.25 $3.97||View on Amazon|
Best Floss For Braces
Perhaps the biggest frustration for any fixed dental brace wearer is flossing.
Very few enjoy flossing, even without a brace, but the small and intricate gaps within the brackets and wires of braces are a perfect home for bacteria to reside, grow and therefore becomes even more necessary.
There are many tools, including water flossers that can aid with the interdental cleaning required.
Our list of best water flossers for braces gives our suggestions on those you could consider to make your life that little bit easier.
However, it is still strongly advised to still use the traditional string flossing methods and interdental brushes as these are the best options for getting in between all the tight gaps between teeth.
Do get personalized advice from your dentist as the spacing between your teeth will be different to another person and these spaces will too be changing when wearing a brace.
Interdental brushes like those from TePe are often considered the gold standard, but making use of waxed tape floss can be beneficial as this glides easier over the teeth and brace and has a larger surface area to come into contact with the teeth.
It does sadly take a bit of time and dedication, but you should do this everyday.
Tight and fiddly flossing can certainly be, so it is then useful to consider products such as Oral-B’s Super Floss.
|Oral-B Super Floss||1,661 Reviews||$6.99 $5.56||View on Amazon|
Super Floss is the name given by Oral-B to their pre-cut strands of dental floss. Stiffer at one end, this is designed specifically for feeding the floss through the dental appliance, the process is much easier. This is then followed by a length of thick floss that effectively cleans the surfaces it makes contact with. 50 strands of floss are provided in the pack.
You could also consider using a floss threader such as those from Gum (view here on Amazon) and BRIDGEAID (view here on Amazon) that allow you to more easily feed your preferred floss in between dental appliances.
Aside from regular string/tape floss the shape and intricacy of the dental appliance can mean that more specialized tools are required.
TePe make a fantastic range of products to suit the needs of any brace wearer.
Generally, TePe interdental brushes are less fiddly than dental floss, and in many cases remove more plaque around the brackets. They are also more compact than a regular toothbrush and so may be a good alternative to a full brushing session after lunch.
TePe are a specialist in interdental cleaning products you can learn about the brand and what an interdental brush in our complete guide to interdental brushes.
Particular products to be aware of that could really help with cleaning your brace are:
TePe Compact Tuft -- An angled brush with a rounded tuft, which is especially suitable for cleaning around brackets and along the gum line
TePe Interspace -- An angled brush with a tapered tuft, is ideal for cleaning critical areas close to brackets and under wires. Two different angles can be chosen for optimal access.
The following video shows the best technique and shares tips on how to floss correctly.
Best Orthodontic Kits For Braces
When caring for your teeth and brace, it is important to essentially build a toolkit of products you like and want to use.
We have provided some recommendations, but it is no good using these if they do not work for you. Use what is appropriate and that you find most effective.
Ideally, you would take this toolkit around with you, so you always have it on hand should the situation arise.
Some keep it in a bag, a desk draw at the office or in their car.
There are times though when this is not practical, so it can be handy to have some spares or some essential tools on hand in places you might visit frequently.
Keeping some spare floss at work or in the car might be useful, this way you know should you need to clean up the brace you can with more ease.
However, there are a number of different pre-made kits that you can buy and keep to hand for convenience or emergencies.
Like any other type of dental care product, there is a lot of choice, but here are a couple of options we like:
|GUM Orthodontic Kit - Orthodontic Toothbrush, 3 Proxabrush Sizes, EasyThread Floss, and Mint Ortho...||136 Reviews||$6.99 $5.82||View on Amazon|
|Dr. Fresh Orthodontic Travel Bottle Kit||15 Reviews||$9.97||View on Amazon|
Your feedback & comments
This information is provided as a guide and we really hope that it has helped you navigate the confusing world of cleaning and taking care of your brace and mouth.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below and we will be sure to get back to you, or do consult your dentist or orthodontist.