Your new braces treatment means making changes to your oral hygiene routine. While the process of brushing and flossing doesn’t change much during your treatment, you will need to put in a little more time and effort to get a thorough clean. Making sure to properly brush around the brackets and wires to get any debris while not causing any damage can be a challenging procedure. Don’t worry, our team at Thacker Orthodontics has seven tips for brushing your teeth with braces.
#1 Rinse thoroughly
Before brushing your teeth, swish warm water to remove any loose food particles that may have gathered around the brackets or under the wires. You may have to do this several times to get most of the debris out. Rinse as many times as necessary until the water is clear when you spit it in the sink. Once there’s no longer any debris, you can start brushing. Using an anti-cavity fluoride mouthwash can help reduce tooth decay and protect enamel!
#2 Brushing the brackets
Cleaning around all the metal parts can be tricky if you don’t take the time to prepare. The process is similar to brushing your teeth without braces, back and forth, and in small circles. With brackets on you will need to adjust your brush placement to get a good angle for successful cleaning. Start by holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush along the gum line. Next, shift the angle of the toothbrush so that you can carefully brush the tops of your brackets. Then, reposition the toothbrush to angle up so that you can brush under the brackets and wire, too. Brush down from the top of the bracket, up from the bottom, and at a circular angle around them. This will help in getting to those hard-to-reach places.
Do not apply too much pressure that you damage the wires or brackets themselves. If you are using an electric toothbrush, dial back the intensity as you get to the pressure needed to properly clean your teeth with treatment.
#3 Choose the right toothpaste
Patients who are old enough to get braces are usually no longer using children’s toothpaste. If your child is still using this kind of toothpaste when their treatment begins, it may be time to choose an option better suited to their changing oral health needs. The American Dental Association and our doctors recommend toothpaste with fluoride and stronger compounds better able to combat and neutralize bacteria.
#4 Don’t forget your gums
Once your braces are attached, you may experience some gum sensitivity or inflammation. This is brief and will subside quickly when combated with good hygiene practices. Try to follow the curve of the gums as you go from tooth to tooth. Make sure that you are not only brushing the brackets and wires on the front faces of your teeth, but that you are also going all the way to your gums to get the plaque and debris that builds up there.
#5 Make sure to floss once a day
For many patients, flossing is the most overlooked step in at-home oral care, especially for those who have braces. It’s important that you don’t skip this step because food debris, plaque, and bacteria can become lodged between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. There are some brands of disposable flossing sticks that can be very convenient. Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan will give you some samples of tools like interdental prox-a-brushes and orthodontic flossers to help make this process easier. Floss the gum line with the floss 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.
#6 Take your time
It takes time and effort to adjust to having braces. It can be challenging enough to clean for two whole minutes without brackets and wires being in the way, so with the added difficulty of braces you can be tempted to skip important steps. However, it’s more important than ever to take your time when brushing during orthodontic treatment to ensure the best results in an efficient time period. We suggest an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer to help keep you accountable while giving you an extra hand at the actual cleaning.
#7 Rinse again
Once you’ve finished brushing and flossing your teeth, rinse your mouth out again with warm water to wash out any of the loose particles knocked free during the cleaning process. This gives your mouth an extra cleansing boost and makes sure that no leftover debris gets lodged back in your braces. We encourage you to do this step with a fluoride-containing mouth rinse to optimize your freshness!
Treat your smile at Thacker Orthodontics
You deserve to have the best smile all the time. At Thacker Orthodontics, we want your orthodontic treatment to be as smooth, satisfying, and stress-free as possible. Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan have years of experience to give you the results you want. If you or someone you love is interested in getting braces, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation. Excellent orthodontic care is only a few minutes from your home, work, or school with offices in Hillsboro and Cincinnati. There’s never been a better time!