If you have braces, you probably can’t wait for the day when you can finally see your new and improved smile. For the time being, though, you have to deal with the hardware. Which means caring for your teeth and the braces themselves. If you want to be truly impressed once it’s time to get the braces off, you’ll need to take care of them when they’re still on. A big portion of this is cleaning regularly and correctly. Read on for the best tips about how brushing your teeth with braces can be easy and fulfilling.
Brushing Your Teeth Every Single Day.
When you have braces, it’s easier for food particles and plaque to stick to the braces and your teeth. Plaque is colorless and sticky. And it’s a type of bacteria, so it’s definitely not something you want stuck to your teeth. If you don’t brush your teeth daily, you run the risk of developing gingivitis. Gingivitis can develop faster than you’d think, so you don’t want to skip even one day of brushing. In addition to brushing daily (which includes in the morning and then again before you go to bed,) you should try to brush after every meal, even snacks. The more you make this a habit, the less often you’ll wake up and think, “I forgot to brush my teeth and I have braces!”
Choose the Correct Toothbrush.
You may assume that because it’s harder to remove food particles and plaque when you have braces that a stiff toothbrush is a good choice. However, braces are more delicate than you think, and a stiff-bristled brush can actually bend or break your braces. When you have braces, it’s best to opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush, which will be more delicate on your braces. Also, soft bristles are easier on your gums. Which may already be a little irritated from the braces and need some extra TLC.
Select the Correct Toothpaste.
Your orthodontist may recommend a specific toothpaste to use and if you’re unsure of what to choose you can always ask. A good rule of thumb when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment and wearing braces is to avoid whitening toothpaste. If you use a whitening toothpaste when you’re wearing braces, you’ll end up with uneven whitening. Because the toothpaste won’t be able to reach every area of your teeth.
Instead, choose a toothpaste that has fluoride, because this is the type of toothpaste that’s best at preventing cavities. An alternative to choosing a toothpaste with fluoride is using a fluoride gel on your teeth daily, which will prevent bacteria. Or, you can rinse with a fluoride liquid when you’re finished cleaning.
Familiarize Yourself with Proper Brushing Steps.
When cleaning with braces, it’s important to follow the correct steps. First, you’ll want to rinse your mouth out to get rid of any loose particles, then thoroughly rinse out your toothbrush to remove food particles from that, too. Next, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and use short strokes while gently moving the toothbrush back and forth. Brush your gums, teeth and braces wiring, making sure to reach the inner, outer and chewing areas of your teeth. Brush for two or three minutes, then brush your tongue last and, finally, rinse your mouth out thoroughly to get rid of any particles you’ve dislodged.
Avoid the Urge to Overbrush.
While some people exclaim, “I forgot to brush my teeth and I have braces!” on a regular basis. Other people get into the habit of over-brushing, which can also be detrimental to the health of your teeth. If you brush too often or too harshly (or both), you can create sensitive teeth or contribute to receding gums. Cleaning too vigorously can cause the enamel to wear down, too. You may think that the more you brush, the healthier your teeth are. But you can actually damage your teeth if you go overboard. This is also one of the reasons why you shouldn’t use a medium-bristled or hard-bristled brush when cleaning your teeth with braces.
Use the Right Additional Dental Tools.
When you have braces, you don’t necessarily want to use just a generic toothbrush to clean your teeth. Even if you brush daily. And being careful about the types of foods you eat, you can still end up with left behind food particles because they can get stuck in the braces. Consider using an interdental brush or a gum massager when cleaning your teeth. Also, always make sure to rinse your mouth in order to get rid of any food particles that you’ve loosened up.
Don’t Forget to Floss.
A big component of brushing your teeth when you have braces is flossing. It can be a bit difficult at first to floss when you have braces, but you’ll be used to it in no time. It’s a good idea to floss once daily, using waxed floss because unwaxed floss can easily get stuck in your braces. Thread the floss under the main wire and then bring it between your teeth. Floss as normal, making sure to be gentle as you move from tooth to tooth. It’s better to floss at any point of the day than not at all. The absolute best time to floss is at the end of the day once you’re finished eating for the day.
Contact us Today
Even with knowing how brushing your teeth with braces and practicing excellent dental care at home is good. It’s important to visit your orthodontist regularly for adjustments and checkups. This is when you’ll find out if you have any broken or bent braces and when you can get them repaired. Dr. Tisseront will also be able to tell you if you’re cleaning thoroughly enough and if you’re at risk for gingivitis or cavities.
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11720 Plaza America Drive, Ste. 110
Reston, VA 20190
Phone: (703) 773-1200
Brushing Your Teeth with Braces (7 Tips)
After attending the University of Paris VII School of Dentistry in Paris, France for both my undergraduate education and my Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree, I continued on to the prestigious Orthodontic Program at Oregon Health Sciences University’s School of Dentistry in Portland, Oregon. During this three year comprehensive Orthodontic Graduate Program, I earned my Master of Science Degree in Orthodontics.
I participate in regular continuing education to keep abreast of the latest techniques in orthodontics available today. My bio-mechanics background coupled with my passion for orthodontics is a winning combination for all of my patients. Participating in classes and seminars allows me to stay current with all of the latest trends in orthodontics to pass on to my patients!