So you’ve recently started wearing braces or Invisalign and you want to kick things off right. It goes without saying that your oral health should be top-of-mind as you progress through your smile journey. That way, once the orthodontics come off, you’ll not only have beautiful straight teeth, but healthy ones, too.
Here, we list 11 orthodontic supplies for braces and Invisalign that will help you get the best out of your brushing and flossing routine while you are on the journey of designing your beautiful smile.
Braces Supplies For Braces & Invisalign:
Let’s start with braces supplies. When caring for braces and your teeth, you want tools that loosen food debris that gets caught in your appliance. And you want braces supplies that help you clean the nooks and crannies around brackets and between teeth so plaque doesn’t build up and lead to tooth decay.
1. Dental Floss
Did you know that flossing before brushing has been shown as more effective than the other way around?
Many of Okuda Orthodontics patients ask us how to floss with their new braces. We get it — with archwires running across your teeth, flossing might seem confusing. Floss at least once a day and go with what feels most comfortable: traditional waxed floss, ribbon floss, an orthodontic flosser, or a water flosser are all floss options for braces.
When you have braces, we recommend waxed floss over unwaxed. Brackets and wires can shred unwaxed floss — you don’t want threads of floss getting stuck in your appliance!
If you weren’t flossing regularly before braces, you might find that your gums are sensitive to flossing; they might even bleed a little. No need to worry — many patients get used to flossing by first using dental tape, then graduating to waxed floss once their gums are ready. So how is dental tape different from traditional floss? Dental tape is spongy, wider, and ribbon-like. You use it just like waxed floss, and can even use a floss threader to help you maneuver it.
2. Floss Threader: Make Flossing with Braces Easier
If you’re finding that getting dental floss around your braces challenging at first, a floss threader can help you get the hang of it. A floss threader is a small tool with a large loop on one end and a tail — it looks like a lasso.
3. Orthodontic Flosser
Now, it may sound technical, but an orthodontic flosser is actually a very simple tool to have in your orthodontic supplies kit. Keep a few in your purse, your car, or backpack to quickly and easily floss your teeth when you’re not at home.
4. Interdental Pick/Brush
This handy tool looks like a toothpick with tiny bristles on the end. It’s useful for dislodging food stuck in your braces and for flossing.
5. Waterpik® for Braces
There’s a reason why your orthodontist and dentist spray water at your teeth when you’re in the chair. A directed jet of water effectively cleans debris off teeth and braces.
As an additional step to brushing, a water flosser washes away food debris and plaque in those harder-to-reach spaces between teeth, along the gumline, and around brackets. In fact, one study reports that participants who used a Waterpik® in their oral hygiene routine experienced an almost 75% reduction in plaque overall versus those who used dental floss.
6. Toothbrush for Braces
Now that we’ve covered your options for flossing with braces, let’s talk about brushing. You already know to brush at least twice a day — morning and before bed. But with braces, Dr. Brady Okuda suggests you also brush after every meal and snack; and be sure to brush for at least two minutes every time. Your team at Okuda Orthodontics is happy to show you how to best brush with braces.
A manual toothbrush for braces wearers works well if you take the time to brush thoroughly and with the right technique. Using a soft toothbrush positioned at a 45 degree angle, brush from the gumline in small circles to clean each tooth, bracket, and around your archwires. Brush your chewing surfaces, the backs of your teeth, your palate, tongue, and inside of your cheeks, too.
The big-ticket question is: does an electric toothbrush clean better than a manual one? According to one study, the simple answer is, yes. Over the 11-year study, there was 18% less tooth decay for electric toothbrush users than manual toothbrush users.
Find an electric toothbrush with a rotating and oscillating head, also called a sonic toothbrush. As a toothbrush for braces, an electric one can make your oral hygiene routine easier, more effective, and more fun!
7. Toothpaste for Braces
It goes without saying that toothpaste is a necessary part of your orthodontic tool kit. Find a fluoride toothpaste but skip the whitening option. Why? The latter can brighten your teeth — a win! — but doesn’t penetrate the adhesive that holds your brackets to your teeth. What you might get once your braces are off is unevenly white teeth. Our recommendation at Okuda Orthodontics is to save any whitening treatments until you’re braces-free.
Additional Care for Braces
That’s about it for oral hygiene tools! But we do want to mention a few braces accessories that help in other ways.
8. Wax for Braces
Some patients new to braces experience uncomfortableness on their gums from the wires pressing against them. In this case, we suggest getting wax for braces and applying it right after you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth. Pinch off a pea-sized amount and roll it into a slightly flattened ball. Press the wax onto the problem area and use your tongue to move it into place if needed.
To remove wax for braces, use dental floss or an interdental pick.
9. Braces Mouthguard
For braces wearers, the team at Okuda Orthodontics recommends wearing a mouthguard if you’re playing a sport that usually requires a mouthguard. A boil-and-bite mouthguard made especially for braces wearers is a do-it-yourself option, or have a custom one made by your Henderson orthodontist.
10. Mouthwashes for Braces
Braces or not, we all want to have fresh breath, right? But the main reason for using mouthwash is its bacteria-killing power. A swish of nearly any drugstore-brand mouthwash can help kill the lingering bad bacteria around your braces that causes plaque. The best mouthwashes for braces contain ingredients that aim to soothe sore gum tissue, reduce white spots, or contain fluoride.
Now that we’ve covered braces accessories, let’s talk about accessories with Invisalign treatment. It makes sense to maintain good oral hygiene with clear aligners.
Take out your Invisalign aligners to brush and floss as usual. Then clean your Invisalign aligners: we suggest brushing them with a soft toothbrush and rinsing them with lukewarm water before putting them back in.
11. Invisalign Cleaning Crystals
You can also get Invisalign cleaning crystals for a deeper clean. Add to water and this soaking solution gets rid of plaque and odors.
12. Invisalign Storage Case
Always store your clear aligners in their Invisalign case when you take them out and when cleaning them. Storing them in the case keeps them clean and prevents you from losing them!
At Okuda Orthodontics, we want your braces or Invisalign treatment to go as smoothly as possible. The right orthodontic supplies can go a long way in maintaining good oral health and avoid delays in your smile progress. Plus, you want to keep your braces or Invisalign in tip-top shape. And although it’s rare, if you experience any braces emergencies, we’re here to help you resolve them.