As your braces work hard to straighten your teeth, you should work hard to clean and protect your teeth. In fact, oral hygiene is especially important for those with braces because plaque can hide in the nooks and crannies around the brackets. In addition to regular visits to your dentist, you’ll need to brush your teeth twice daily and floss once daily. Scroll down to learn how to brush your teeth with braces.
How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces
With their metal brackets and sturdy wires, braces create many additional places for plaque and food particles to hide. If plaque isn’t cleaned away through brushing or flossing, it can accumulate and harden into tartar, which can lead to serious gum disease. In addition, if you don’t maintain your oral hygiene, your teeth may become stained or demineralized while you’re wearing braces. This means that when your braces are removed, the spots that were hidden beneath the brackets will be a different color from other parts of your teeth.
Your best defense against tartar and staining? Learning how to brush your teeth with braces. Review these tips to get started:
- Take your time. First of all, it’s important to understand that brushing and flossing your teeth will take longer. It’s inevitable if you want to effectively clean around each bracket. Be prepared to spend about three times as long on your oral hygiene. In addition, some orthodontists recommend that you brush your teeth after every meal instead of just twice a day.
- Remove the removable. If any parts of your orthodontic system are removable, remove them before you brush and floss your teeth. For example, you may have removable elastics or bands.
- Rinse your mouth with water. Before you brush your teeth, rinse your mouth with water to help dislodge any food particles that have gotten stuck in your braces.
- Brush your teeth. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and brush the gumline. Move in a circular motion, brushing with gentle pressure. Then, place the toothbrush on top of the brackets, angling down to brush the top of each bracket. Repeat this step to brush the bottom of the brackets, angling the toothbrush up this time. Be sure that you reach every tooth, every bracket, the main wire, and the gumline.
- Floss your teeth. To floss your teeth with braces, you’ll need waxed floss, which is less likely to get caught in the brackets and shred when compared to unwaxed floss. Thread the floss beneath the main wire. You may wish to use orthodontic floss (which has a stiff end to make threading easier) or a floss threader, which is easy to find at your local pharmacy. Move the floss up and down gently, remove it, and floss between the next pair of teeth. Continue this process until you’ve flossed your entire mouth. Be careful not to snap the floss – use gentle movements.
If you’re confused about any of these steps, ask your dentist, dental hygienist, or orthodontist for help. They can demonstrate the proper way to brush and floss your teeth with braces.
Whether you have braces for six months or three years, it’s crucial that you brush and floss your teeth properly. In addition, you must visit your dentist at least every six months for regular cleanings and dental exams.
If you’re looking for a new dentist in southwest Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental today. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!