Starting your new braces treatment means making changes to your oral hygiene routine. The process of brushing and flossing does not change much when you have braces, but you’ll need to allow a little more effort to get a thorough clean. It can be tricky to properly brush around the brackets and wire to get any debris while not causing any damage. Don’t worry, our expert team of doctors at Williams & Hamman Orthodontics has seven tips for brushing your teeth with braces to help keep things straightforward.
#1 Rinse thoroughly
Gargle warm water before brushing to remove any loose food particles that may have gathered underneath and around the brackets. You may have 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 helps to use 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 for a different option better suited to their oral health needs. The American Dental Association and the doctors at Williams & Hamman Orthodontics recommend toothpaste with fluoride and stronger compounds better able to combat and neutralize bacteria.
#3 Brushing the brackets
Cleaning around brackets and wires 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. 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 at a circular angle around them will help in getting those hard-to-reach places. 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.
#4 Don’t forget your gums
Once your braces are on, you may experience some gum sensitivity or inflammation. This is typically 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.
#5 Make sure to floss twice a day
Flossing is the most overlooked step, especially for those who have the hardware of braces. Make sure you don’t skip this step because debris, plaque, and bacteria can become lodged between teeth and brackets. There are 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.
#6 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 the complications of brackets and wires being in the way that can make you want to rush and skip important steps. It’s important 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.
#7 Rinse again
Once you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth, rinse your mouth out again to wash out any of the loose particles knocked free during the cleaning process. This gives your mouth an extra cleansing boost so that no leftover debris gets lodged back in your braces.
Trust Williams & Hamman Orthodontics
You deserve the right guidance on your journey to a better smile, and that means finding the right team to show you the way. Our experienced team at Williams & Hamman Orthodontics is dedicated to making your experience a professional and personalized one, from initial consultation to your most recent checkup. If you are wondering what the best route to your perfect smile is, schedule your FREE consultation in Southaven or Olive Branch today, and let Dr. Williams and Dr. Hamman help you navigate this journey with confidence.