You’ve taken a big step by having braces put on. You’re now officially on the path towards a healthy, beautiful smile. It’s an exciting time, but it also comes with a learning curve. You may need to adjust as you get used to your new orthodontic treatment. Still, it will become second nature before you know it, especially with these tips for brushing your teeth with braces from our experienced team here at Stacy Wolf Orthodontics!
While wearing braces makes life a bit different, brushing your teeth with braces isn’t too different from brushing your teeth without braces. Maneuvering around brackets and wires takes a little practice. Be sure to brush thoroughly after every meal and snack, so any food particles are removed before bacteria can grow.
Orthodontic treatment through braces is an investment in your future. You are fixing a physical issue while boosting confidence and overall self-esteem. At Stacy Wolf Orthodontics, our team is dedicated to giving patients of all ages exceptional orthodontic care. You only get one smile, and to achieve and maintain those healthy and beautiful results, you, your family dentist, and Dr. Wolf will have to work together as a team. Let’s look at some tips for effectively brushing your teeth with braces.
Take Your Time
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.
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 as well. 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 be sure you are getting the best brushing possible, slowly brush each tooth along the gumline for five seconds before moving on to the next tooth. After you have completed the gum line, brush the inside, outside, and tops of the teeth as usual. Don’t forget to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth, too!
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 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.
Flossing every night before you go to bed can help you avoid rushing the process. Tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks are helpful if you’re having trouble getting a good floss underneath the archwire. Your orthodontist will likely also give you a tool, like an interdental proxy brush, to help make this process easier.
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 find 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.
The Right Toothpaste Makes a World of Difference
Not all kinds of toothpaste are created equally; if you aren’t using a quality option, you could be doing more harm than good. Since choosing the right toothpaste can depend on your specific needs, Dr. Wolf 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 ADA and kid-approved options that come in fun colors and flavors with the same plaque fighting and teeth cleaning power they need.
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 clearly visible. Fuzzy or dull-looking metal indicates poor brushing. Don’t apply too much pressure to damage the wires or brackets themselves. If you use an electric toothbrush, dial back the intensity as you get to the pressure needed to properly clean your teeth with braces.
Consider Swapping to an Electric Toothbrush
Speaking of toothbrushes– electric toothbrushes not only take the chore out of brushing your teeth but have recently been proven to be better for your teeth and 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 really effective at removing plaque. This helps keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay better than standard options.
Because braces wear out the bristles of the toothbrush quickly, keep an eye on it and replace the head, or the toothbrush, with a fresh new one as soon as it shows signs of wear to continue getting a thorough clean during your orthodontic treatment.
Stacy Wolf Orthodontics has all the best straight smile tips!
You’ll be spending a lot of time focusing on your braces as you learn the routine that works best for you. Don’t forget our caring Stacy Wolf team is here to help with any part of the process that gives you trouble. You are your first line of defense for broken brackets and misshapen wires, so if you are unsure or need a second look, give us a call to get some “chair time” with Dr. Wolf. We will get it worked out!
From your first visit to your final retainer check appointment, our goal at Stacy Wolf Orthodontics is your satisfaction! You’ll enjoy a comfortable and speedy smile journey because we invest in the latest treatments and technologies available to create the smile you expect and deserve.
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, get in touch with our team of experts in Bayside today. You can even check out our Facebook or Instagram to catch more tips and see what our team is up to! We want to help make your dream smile come true!