April 30, 2022
Starting your braces treatment means making adjustments to your oral hygiene routine. While the process of brushing and flossing does not change much when you have braces, you’ll need to allow a little more effort than usual to get a thorough clean. Making sure to properly brush around the brackets and wire to get any debris and bacteria while not causing any damage can be a tricky procedure. Don’t worry, our expert team of orthodontists at Central Virginia Orthodontics has seven tips for brushing your teeth with braces to help keep things easy and straightforward.
#1 Rinse thoroughly
Gargle warm water and spit it into the sink before brushing to remove any loose food particles that may have gathered underneath and around the brackets. You may need to do this a couple of times to get most of the debris out. Rinse as many times as necessary until the water you spit is clear. Once there are no longer pieces of debris, you can start brushing your teeth. It also helps to choose an anti-cavity fluoride mouthwash to help reduce tooth decay and protect enamel.
#2 Choose the right toothpaste
Patients old enough to get braces are usually no longer using the children’s bubblegum flavored toothpaste. If your child is still using this kind of toothpaste when their treatment starts, it may be time to choose an option better suited to their oral health needs. The American Dental Association and the doctors at Central Virginia Orthodontics recommend toothpaste with fluoride and stronger compounds better able to combat and neutralize bacteria.
#3 Don’t forget your gums
After your braces are on, you may experience some gum sensitivity or inflammation. This is usually brief and will subside quickly. Try to follow the curve of the gums and teeth as you go from tooth to tooth. Make sure you are brushing not just the brackets and wires on the front faces of your teeth but that you are going all the way to your gums to get the plaque and debris that builds up there, as well.
#4 Brushing the brackets
Cleaning around brackets and wires can be daunting if you don’t take some time to prepare. Most of the time, the process is similar to brushing your teeth without braces, back and forth. With brackets on, you will need to adjust your brush placement to get a good angle for effective 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. Brushing down from the top of the bracket, up from the bottom, and in a circular angle around them will really help in getting those hard-to-reach places.
Just be sure not to apply too much pressure that you damage the wires or brackets themselves. If you are using an electric toothbrush, dial back the intensity or even opt for a standard brush as you get to the pressure needed to properly clean your teeth with braces.
#5 Take your time
It takes time and effort to adjust to having braces. It was tricky enough to get to the two-minute mark without braces and the added complications of brackets and wires being in the way can make you want to rush and skip important steps. It’s more important than ever to take your time when brushing during braces treatment to ensure the best results by the end of your treatment. Most electric toothbrushes come with a built-in timer that can keep you accountable while giving you an extra hand at the actual cleaning.
#6 Make sure to floss twice a day
Flossing has a wealth of oral health benefits, but it’s also often the most overlooked step, especially for those who have the hardware of braces, which can make the challenge more difficult. It’s important that you don’t skip this step because debris, plaque, and bacteria can become lodged between teeth and brackets. There are also disposable flossing sticks that can be used in a pinch to get to hard-to-reach places where debris can be lodged. One of our orthodontists will give you a tool, like an interdental proxy brush, 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.
#7 Rinse again
Once you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth, rinse your mouth out again with warm water to wash out any of the loose particles knocked free during the process. This gives your mouth an extra cleansing boost and makes sure that no leftover debris gets lodged back in your braces.
Your smile comes first at Central Virginia Orthodontics
Adjusting to braces takes time and patience. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Central Virginia Orthodontics is here to help you every step of the way towards your better smile. Our well-trained team and warm, professional office in Lynchburg are here to provide a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve your goals. Get in touch to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Baugher or Dr. Claiborne or to talk through your concerns with us! We can’t wait to meet you!