You’ve taken a big step by having braces put on. You’re now officially on the path towards a healthy smile. It’s an exciting time, but it comes with a learning curve. You may need to make adjustments.
While wearing braces makes life a bit different, brushing your teeth with braces isn’t too different from brushing your teeth without braces. You’ll have to take caution as brushing around the brackets and wires properly without damaging them can be tricky. Still, getting any food debris and bacteria that may build up between your braces and gums is crucial to avoid more serious issues like tooth decay and gum disease.
Orthodontic treatment through braces is an investment in your future. You are fixing a physical issue while boosting confidence and overall self-esteem. At Williams Orthodontics, our team is dedicated to giving patients of all ages exceptional orthodontic care. You only get one smile, and you can trust our doctors and skilled team to give you the respect you deserve. Let’s look at some tips for effective teeth brushing with braces.
The Right Toothpaste Makes a World of Difference
Not all kinds of toothpaste are created equally, and if you aren’t using a quality option, you may as well not be using any toothpaste at all. Since choosing the right toothpaste can depend on your specific needs, Dr. Williams can give you recommendations that will work well for your needs.
The one common thread in a quality toothpaste is the ingredient fluoride. Fluoride is a common natural mineral that fights cavities and protects your tooth’s outer layer of enamel. The American Dental Association recommends toothpaste with fluoride to combat and neutralize bacteria. While there have been claims that too much fluoride can harm the body, the ADA has numerous studies showing that an approved dose of fluoride is essential for optimal dental health.
As with almost any other product you can purchase, toothpaste with the approved amount of fluoride comes in many different strengths and flavors to satisfy all needs and preferences. There are even fun ADA and kid-approved options like ‘Wild Strawberry’ and ‘Blue Raspberry’ from Hello Kids and Tom’s of Maine Natural Fluoride Toothpaste for children in ‘Silly Strawberry.’
Focus Most on Your Gums
Once your braces are applied, you may briefly experience minor gum sensitivity or inflammation, but this will wear off quickly. As it does, 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. Plus, brushing below your teeth provides a little massage for sore gums and can stimulate blood flow to the area to help them heal quicker.
To ensure you get the best brushing possible, slowly brush each tooth along the gumline for five seconds before moving on to the next tooth. After completing the gum line, brush the teeth inside, outside, and tops as usual.
Take Your Time
There is no denying that having braces takes time and effort. 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 necessary steps. But, it is essential to take your time when brushing with braces to ensure the best results in the long run.
Floss Twice a Day, Everyday
While flossing is one of the most practical steps of oral health, it is also often the most overlooked, especially when you have braces’ hardware making the challenge a bit more complicated. You shouldn’t skip this step as debris, plaque, and bacteria can become lodged between teeth and brackets and lead to tooth decay or gum disease, like gingivitis.
Tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks are helpful if you’re having trouble getting a good floss underneath the wires. Your orthodontist will also give you a device, like an interdental proxy brush, to help make this process easier. We recommend using this cleaning tool after meals to get behind the wires and between each tooth. Removing the debris can go a long way in staving off plaque and further issues.
Rinse Well, and Rinse Again
Because the brackets and wires can create small gaps, food and debris easily get lodged in those spaces. Typically, the particles stuck here are large enough to be noticeable and easily dislodged with a bit of rinsing. If you can’t brush immediately after a meal, rinse your mouth as thoroughly as possible.
To remove any loose food particles that may have gathered underneath and around the brackets, gargle warm water and spit it into the sink before brushing. You may need to do this a few times if you are getting a lot of debris out. Rinse until the water you spit is clear. Once there are no longer pieces of debris, you can begin brushing your teeth.
After you have brushed and flossed your teeth, it is good to rinse your mouth out again with warm water to get any loose particles knocked free during the process. Rinsing with a good mouthwash can provide long-lasting plaque and bad breath defense.
The Brackets and Wires Need Cleaning, Too
Knowing what to do when cleaning the brackets and wires of your braces can be daunting and no easy feat. For the most part, it is the same process as brushing your teeth without braces, back and forth. But, with brackets on, you will need to adjust your brush placement to get a good angle on them. Brushing down from the top of the bracket, up from the bottom, and at a circular angle around them will help get those hard-to-reach places.
Look for clean, shiny braces with the edge of the brackets visible. Fuzzy or dull metal indicates poor brushing. Don’t apply too much pressure to damage wires or brackets. If you use an electric toothbrush, dial back the intensity or even opt for a standard brush as you get to the pressure needed to clean your teeth with braces properly.
For Good Measure, Use an Electric Toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes not only take the chore out of brushing your teeth but have recently been proven to be better for your teeth and overall oral health. According to recent studies, people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay, and keep their teeth longer than those who use a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes, especially those with heads that rotate in both directions, or ‘oscillating’ heads, are effective at removing plaque. This helps keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay.
Professionals you can trust, Williams Orthodontics
At Williams Orthodontics, we straighten smiles, but we care about the person wearing the smile! Your family deserves honest, compassionate care delivered with state-of-the-art technology. We hope you’ll feel at home in our office. There’s no reason orthodontic treatment can’t be fun.
We know things come up, and life is busy, but proper brushing and flossing during your orthodontic treatment can significantly improve your results and overall oral health. It is worth the time! When things happen, or if you need more tips on caring for your braces, schedule your initial consultation with our team of experts in Monroe, LA, or El Dorado, AR. We look forward to your smile!