A consistent oral hygiene routine is essential for keeping your smile looking and feeling great. This is especially true if you’re wearing braces to straighten your teeth! Brackets and wires create spaces that trap food debris and hide bacteria. Braces can be tough to clean effectively, but proper brushing and flossing fight the plaque that feeds any sugar entering your mouth. Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics has your top tips for brushing your teeth in braces to help keep your smile shining!
We’ve seen how poor oral hygiene can affect a patient’s treatment plan. When cavities and tooth decay are left to spread, it can cause longer treatment times and affect the final results. In severe cases, we temporarily removed braces to fix the problem before completing orthodontic treatment. If you’re an orthodontic patient in Portland or Windham, keeping your mouth healthy is the easiest way to guarantee exceptional results. Keep reading for our top tips on taking care of your teeth while in braces!
Tips for Brushing with Braces
Once Dr. Yu places your braces, you may need to adjust your brushing routine. You’ll need to change your usual technique since you have brackets and wires to navigate. You’ll also need to brush more often. We recommend brushing 3-4 times a day for at least two minutes each time to keep food particles and plaque from building up in between your braces and teeth.
There’s no special toothbrush we recommend using with braces, but you should choose one with soft bristles. Manual toothbrushes can sometimes leave food particles and plaque behind no matter how thorough your brushing is, so we recommend using an electric toothbrush for its extra power.
There’s no specific toothpaste needed for brushing with braces, but we recommend one with fluoride. We also suggest using mouthwash to rinse around your brackets daily. Choose an anti-cavity fluoride mouthwash to help reduce tooth decay and protect enamel! Rinsing for one minute will help flush any debris still trapped after brushing and flossing. Refer to the following guidelines to make the most of your brushing routine:
- Don’t go overboard with the toothpaste! Using too much can create excess foam, making it difficult to see any plaque and debris. A pea-sized amount is enough to get the job done.
- Hold the toothbrush against the front sides of the teeth, and move it in small circular motions. Try to follow the regular curve of the gums and teeth as you go from tooth to tooth.
- Brush each tooth for several seconds, carefully and slowly; make sure all food particles are reached and removed along the gum line, between the braces, and on the surface of each tooth.
- Take care to brush the biting surfaces of the teeth, the backsides of the teeth, and behind the molars.
- Don’t forget to brush the roof of your mouth and tongue before rinsing!
- To properly clean the brackets, angle the brush head against them, and remember to brush thoroughly under the wires.
Once you finish brushing, carefully inspect your teeth and braces to ensure they’re spotless. Look in a well-lit mirror to see if you’ve missed anything and check for loose or broken brackets. If you see something out of the ordinary, let us know! Dr. Yu will be happy to advise you on whether or not it needs to be checked out or repaired.
Tips for Flossing with Braces
Flossing is another essential part of oral care if you have braces, but it can be frustrating and time-consuming to be thorough! It may seem like you’ve brushed away every bit of food debris, but braces can easily trap tiny particles in places that are hard to reach.
The good news is there are a variety of products available to help make this process easier! Floss threaders are one example. This reusable tool has a stiff end that easily flosses under the archwire between the brackets. To ensure you’re flossing correctly with braces, try following these simple tips:
- Slide a piece of floss about 18 inches long under the wire, above the space between the two teeth. Insert the floss halfway through, then hold both ends of the floss. Carefully slide the floss up and down a few times between the teeth. When the tooth is clean, you’ll be able to hear a slight squeaking sound.
- Floss the gum line in the shape of a “C” and below the gum line with a soft up and down motion. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when flossing around the archwire.
- Gently remove the floss, thread it under the next wire, and repeat the steps above.
It may take you a while to get through this process initially, but keep at it! With some patience and practice, flossing will become second nature. A little effort will go a long way, and your smile will thank you!
Give your smile the care it deserves with Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics
There’s a direct link between your oral health and successfully achieving a straighter smile. Following the tips we’ve listed above will keep your mouth healthy while we work on giving you a better bite! If you have any questions or concerns about oral hygiene during treatment, our expert team is always here to help set your mind at ease.