Everyone knows there is no better way to get a straight smile than using braces. As standard as that knowledge is, the bad press about life with braces is just as expected, making some patients put off treatment or, worse, not maintain adequate oral health care during their treatment.
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 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 self-esteem. At Wiesemann Orthodontics, we are dedicated to giving patients of all ages exceptional orthodontic care. You only get one smile, and you can trust Dr. Ryan Wiesemann and his team to give you the respect you deserve. Here are some tips for effective teeth brushing with braces.
#1: Rinse Thoroughly
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 loose food particles that may have gathered around the brackets, gargle warm water and spit it into the sink before brushing. Rinse until the water is clear. Once the debris has cleared, you can begin brushing your teeth.
#2: Choose the right toothpaste
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. Wiesemann can give you recommendations that will work well for your needs.
Fluoride is a common ingredient in quality toothpaste. It’s a common natural mineral that fights cavities and protects your tooth’s outer layer of enamel. The American Dental Association recommends fluoride to combat cavities and neutralize bacteria. While there are claims that fluoride can be harmful, 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.’
#3: Don’t forget 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 flow to the area to help them heal quicker.
#4: Brushing the Brackets
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 in a circular motion around them will help get to those hard-to-reach places.
Just be sure not to apply too much pressure to damage the wires or brackets. If you use an electric toothbrush, dial back the intensity or even opt for a standard brush so you can get the pressure needed to properly clean your teeth with braces.
#5: Slow Down
There is no denying that having braces takes a bit of 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.
Singing a song or reciting a poem can help you pace yourself, and most electric toothbrushes come with a built-in timer that can keep you accountable while giving you an extra hand with the actual cleaning.
#6: Make sure to floss twice a day
While flossing is one of the most practical steps of oral health, it is often the most overlooked, especially when you have braces’ hardware making the challenge a bit more complicated. You mustn’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.
There are also disposable flossing sticks that patients can use in a pinch to get to hard-to-reach places where debris can be lodged. Your orthodontist will likely also give you a tool, like an interdental proxy brush, to help make this process easier.
#7: Rinse Again
Once 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.
Tips from Professionals you can trust, Wiesemann Orthodontics
Choosing an orthodontic practice to trust with the beauty of your smile is an important decision. We welcome you and your family to our practice and look forward to helping your smile sparkle. With two offices in South Central Kentucky and two in North Central Tennessee, Wiesemann Orthodontics, your orthodontic treatment is conveniently located close to home, school, or work.
We know things come up, and you get 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 brushing with braces, get in touch with our team of experts to schedule your FREE consultation today!