Are you the recent recipient of a brand new set of braces? Congratulations on joining the club. Having braces may change your life in a variety of ways, such as the foods you eat and the way you care for your teeth. Braces, while improving the alignment of your teeth and bite, can negatively affect your dental health. Your teeth are at a higher risk of decay, which is why it is so important to practice good oral hygiene habits.
You probably already brush your teeth, but you may need to change your technique a bit now that you have braces. Here’s how to brush teeth with braces.
Steps for Brushing Teeth With Braces
- Wet your soft bristled toothbrush.
- Apply a strip of fluoride toothpaste to the bristles.
- Place your toothbrush against the teeth at a 45 degree angle.
- Move the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions above and below the brackets, making sure to get the bristles under the archwire and around the brackets to remove food particles and plaque.
- Brush all sides of the teeth, the front, back, and top. Be sure to brush carefully around the bands on your back molars where food tends to get stuck.
- Spit out the toothpaste.
- Rinse your mouth out with water making sure to swish the water all around your mouth to remove any loose food particles.
- Rinse off your brush, dry it, and place it somewhere out in the open air to dry.
Repeat these steps twice a day. For best results brush after breakfast and after dinner or your last snack of the day before going to bed. Always brush your teeth before going to bed. Food particles that are stuck in your teeth or braces and left all night can cause tooth decay.
How to Floss With Braces
While brushing is the most important step in taking care of your teeth with braces, flossing is also important. Flossing removes food particles and plaque that gather in the pockets between the teeth and the gums. The brackets and bands on the teeth cause more plaque to gather in these pockets than would normally occur. Here’s how to floss your teeth with braces.
- Traditional floss. When using traditional floss, you can simply thread the floss under your archwire, wrap it around your fingers, and push the floss down in between your teeth. But there’s one important difference: don’t pull the floss back out the way it went in or you can damage your archwire. Instead, pull the floss out from one end. Repeat this process between each tooth.
- Floss threader. A floss threader is a tool designed to make flossing with braces easier. It is a plastic device that looks like a sewing needle. It isn’t sharp, but the end is tapered to easily fit under your archwire. You simply thread the floss through the eye of the plastic needle and pass it under your archwire. You can then remove the threader or leave it and wrap the floss around your fingers. Push the floss down in between your teeth, then pull it out from one end.
- Waterpik. The easiest way to floss with braces is to use a waterpik, also called an oral irrigator. This machine sprays water through a pointed tool that fits into the space between your teeth. It sprays water with enough force to remove plaque and food particles from the spaces between the teeth and the gums. It's like a miniature pressure washer for your teeth.
It is recommended that you floss once a day, either in the morning or at night before you brush your teeth. Although it is more difficult, it is especially important to floss while you’re wearing braces.
Learn Proper Braces Care From Smith Orthodontics
When you first get your braces we don’t just send you home with no instructions. Smith Orthodontics takes the time to teach you how to brush and floss your teeth, what to eat and not to eat, and more. Our goal is to help your braces care to be a success so that the end result is a beautiful smile.