Braces are an effective way to fix orthodontic issues and improve the aesthetics of your smile. It’s common for there to be a little confusion when it comes to how to brush or how to floss with braces. Like many people who choose to take this journey to a beautiful smile, you may have a few questions about oral hygiene.
Figuring out how to brush your teeth and floss with braces can seem like a daunting task. The presence of orthodontic equipment in your mouth will certainly make the oral hygiene process a little different but not much more complicated than you might think. With the right tools and techniques, it’s easy to keep your teeth clean and protect the beautiful smile underneath your braces!
What Is the Best Way To Brush With Braces?
To preserve the health of your smile, here are step-by-step instructions on how to brush your teeth with braces:
- Take off any rubber bands, wax, or removable orthodontic appliances. These may get in the way of your toothbrush or prevent the removal of all possible plaque and food buildup.
- Set a timer for 2 minutes and brush carefully, holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and paying special attention to getting around brackets and wires.
- Brush each wire individually, moving from top to bottom, to make sure that no food is stuck underneath them.
- Brush the surface of every tooth, making sure to get the front, back, and sides when possible.
- Don’t rinse your mouth with water or regular mouthwash. If you’ve been prescribed a fluoride mouthwash or toothpaste, rinsing can wash away the fluoride and stop it from strengthening teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash, if you have one available.
- Check your teeth for any spots you may have missed or for food that may still be present.
- Follow up with an interdental brush when needed to get into those hard-to-reach places under the wires or between brackets.
How you brush your teeth with braces is important for your overall health and your oral health. The presence of orthodontic appliances in your mouth will require a few changes in your brushing routine.
The spaces between brackets and under orthodontic wires are prone to food and plaque buildup. Tooth decay and staining can mar a smile when the teeth under braces are not properly taken care of. Instead of removing braces to reveal a beautiful, healthy smile, a mouthful of problems can instead be uncovered.
Tips For Brushing Your Teeth With Braces
Things to remember when it comes to navigating how to brush your teeth with braces:
- Brush after all meals: Prevent food from sitting on your teeth for prolonged periods of time by brushing immediately after eating.
- Brush often: It’s recommended that you brush at least twice a day to protect your teeth.
- Don’t forget your gums: Brushing the gums is important as plaque is likely to build up close to the gum line.
- Take your time: When you brush your teeth, brush for, ideally, 2 minutes.
- Be prepared: Take a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss with you while you’re out of the house or when you go on trips.
- Be gentle with your braces: Try to avoid biting things like pens if that’s a habit.
- Stick to braces-safe foods: Avoid nuts, candies, gum, and hard foods. Sticking to braces-safe food will prevent any damage to orthodontic equipment.
- Get regular checkups: Regular check-ups are important for oral health as regular cleanings can aid with plaque removal.
Braces are a worthwhile investment. To get the most out of them, it’s important to follow proper oral hygiene techniques and best practices. With a little extra effort and time, the health of your teeth can be preserved while your smile is being shaped by braces.
Flossing While Wearing Braces
Next to brushing, flossing is the most important part of taking care of your teeth while wearing braces. Flossing, combined with regular brushing, is essential to remove the plaque buildup on teeth that can lead to the tartar buildup that causes the gum disease gingivitis.
Why Do I Need To Floss With Braces?
Various diseases can also stem from improper oral hygiene, such as periodontal disease. Additionally, not flossing regularly with braces can lead to:
- Bad breath
- Tooth decay
- Yellowed or stained teeth
- Increased risk of gum disease
- Gingivitis and other conditions
Not only do these conditions affect the aesthetic of your smile, but they can also lead to costly surgeries and procedures that require recovery time. This is why it’s important to regularly floss and take care of your oral health.
How To Floss With Braces
Similar to brushing with braces, flossing with braces looks a little different than regular flossing. If you’re wondering how to floss with braces, here are the steps to follow to ensure your teeth remain healthy under your braces:
- First, make sure you have a piece of floss that is big enough. 18 inches of floss should be enough.
- Using a threader or self-threading floss, thread the floss under the orthodontic wire.
- Pull the floss between two teeth and gently move the floss up and down and back and forth, making sure to scrape the sides of your teeth with it.
- Remove and repeat with a clean section of floss or a new piece for the area between all of your teeth.
- Rinse afterward with a fluoride mouthwash or with water.
By following these steps, flossing with braces is made easy and effective to help keep your teeth clean and protected.
Tips For Flossing With Braces
Things to remember when it comes to navigating how to floss with braces:
- Use a floss threader: A floss threader is a great tool to easily thread the floss between orthodontic wires.
- Try self-threading floss: Self-threading floss is floss for braces. It’s designed to easily thread between orthodontic wires.
- Floss often. Flossing should be completed once a day.
- Offer help if necessary: Children with braces may need the help of an adult to floss properly.
- Invest in a water pick: Water picks can be a great alternative when dexterity issues get in the way of using string floss.
- Use wax floss: Wax floss is a great alternative to regular floss that may shred easily.
- Watch out for bleeding: If excessive bleeding occurs, it’s important to tell your orthodontist.
The right tools and flossing techniques assure the long-term health of your teeth. To make flossing a regular habit, it’s important to set aside time every day to floss. Setting an alert on your phone or leaving a note in the bathroom can be useful reminders to floss. You’ll likely begin to complete the task automatically, over time, making flossing a regular part of your daily routine!
What Kind Of Toothbrush Do I Need To Brush Your Teeth And Floss With Braces?
Aside from technique, the tools used to complete a task are often a significant part of getting things done. When brushing your teeth while wearing braces, using the right toothbrush is very important. Two toothbrush options have proven to work best for braces: soft bristle toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes.
A soft bristle toothbrush is a great manual option for brushing your teeth while wearing braces. Soft bristles are preferable to hard bristles because the soft bristles can bend easily to clean between the brackets and underneath orthodontic wires. Some soft bristle toothbrushes are even specially made for brushing with braces and have all of the features necessary for the best oral hygiene possible.
A manual toothbrush should also have these features to effectively clean around and under braces:
- A narrow neck
- Flexible soft bristles
- A rounded brush head
- An ergonomically designed handle
Electric toothbrushes are also great options for keeping your teeth and braces clean. Many electric toothbrushes possess the features mentioned above, which help clean the plaque build-up behind braces without damaging orthodontic equipment.
Due to the pressure they exert, electric toothbrushes can be effective for cleaning between brackets and under orthodontic wires. Similar to manual toothbrushes, some electric toothbrushes are made specifically for brushing teeth with braces.
How Palm Beach Orthodontics Can Help You
Wearing braces can be a positive and life-changing experience. The effort you put into oral hygiene today leads to a lifetime of beautiful and healthy smiles. Now that you know how to brush and how to floss with braces, that lifetime is another day closer!
If you’re considering braces for you or your child, our team of expert orthodontists can provide the best treatment results possible. To schedule a free consultation to determine whether braces are right for you or your child, contact us today.