Braces, especially metal ones, have a tendency to collect foodstuffs quite frequently. Unfortunately, some of those foodstuffs are either extremely sticky or just really difficult to remove. Here are some ways you can remove the most difficult foods from your metal braces without damaging the braces.
If your orthodontist has not introduced you to orthodontic toothpicks, you can find them yourself in most oral hygiene aisles in drug store chains. These very handy, and very safe, toothpicks have small bristle brushes at one or both ends of each pick. The tiny bristles easily slide into all of the nooks and crannies of your metal brackets, poking food bits like broccoli florets and shredded meat out of your braces. They are usually made of flexible plastic and not wood like traditional toothpicks so that no wood slivers get stuck in your brackets while you are trying to get food out.
Orthodontic Threading Floss
Most orthodontists hand samples of "threading floss" out to patients as part of a starter care package for your braces. The threading floss looks like dental floss that is looped on one end. The threading end is threaded through a space between your teeth and then loops around the nearest tooth just above the bracket. Wiggling the floss loop back and forth helps loosen food stuck up in your gums. Threading floss is the only product recommended for use with braces because it is the only product that can bypass your retaining wire and your metal brackets. The threading floss can also be used to pull food that is stuck in the center of your brackets, if you can thread the floss through the center openings.
If you are trying to get an especially sticky substance out of your braces, hot liquids can help. Try drinking tea or coffee as hot as you can tolerate it, or swish with hot water to make the tricky, sticky substance less sticky. Right after you have drank or swished with a hot liquid, use some threading floss or an orthodontic toothpick to remove any remaining traces of the food substance and then brush as usual.
Baking Soda and Peroxide
Although it will not taste very good, you can use baking soda and peroxide to pull some foods from your braces. Wet your toothbrush and then dunk it liberally into baking soda. Brush the problem braces vigorously with the semi-wet baking soda paste, and use the peroxide to activate a chemical reaction. The foaming action and air bubbles created by the reaction might be just enough to lift tiny food particles like a piece of black pepper or a broccoli floret from your braces.
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