When you have braces, it’s critically important to brush and floss very regularly in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment. With braces, we recommend brushing at least 4 times per day:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and your appliance.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITH BRACES:
Taking the time and effort to keep your braces and teeth clean is important. Doing so will help you avoid problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth decalcification.
If you don’t practice proper brushing, you risk having discolored teeth, cavities, or swollen and infected gum tissue. We know you don’t want this!
So here’s something you need to know: It’s up to you to keep your mouth healthy. Only you can make a commitment to care for your teeth daily.
And for children with braces, parents should teach their kids the importance of caring for their teeth and encourage them to keep their mouths clean every day.
We know that brushing with braces can seem almost impossible at first. You may feel like you can’t get into all the spaces between your brackets. Or that it takes too much time to brush your teeth.
Food particles and plaque (a sticky, colorless film of bacteria) can stick to your braces and teeth, especially when you have braces. If you don’t brush your teeth or practice proper technique, gingivitis can form in as little as 48 hours. That’s why daily brushing is critical for maintaining dental health.
Here’s how to practice proper tooth brushing with braces:
- Rinse your mouth out with water first to get some of the loose food particles out of your mouth.
- Rinse your toothbrush with hot water to clear any food particles.
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Gently move the brush back and forth in short strokes. Be sure to brush between the wiring and the teeth. You also want to brush the outer surfaces, inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces.
- Brush your teeth thoroughly for at least two to three minutes.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
And if for some reason you can’t brush your teeth after you eat, you should drink lots of water and swish your mouth out with water. Taking this action will wash away some of the food and sugar and prevent potential damage to your teeth.
Flossing is also a critical step for keeping your teeth healthy and ensuring you get the results you want.
Flossing with braces is mostly the same as normal flossing. There is one difference, though: You must thread the floss under the archwire and between the teeth. A floss threader (which looks like a large plastic needle) can make this step easier.
Here’s how the process works:
- Thread the floss under the archwire.
- Remove the threader.
- Floss each side of each tooth in the space.
- Pull the floss out of the space with one hand as you release the floss with your other hand.
- Repeat this method between all of your teeth.
It’s a good idea to floss at the end of the day; this way you won’t miss any food particles trapped in your teeth.
AVOID WHITENING PRODUCTS WHEN YOU HAVE BRACES.
While you are wearing braces, you shouldn’t use whitening products — this means no whitening toothpaste or whitening mouthwash.
The reason for this is because the whitening product will only work on the place it touches, meaning you’ll have uneven color when your braces get removed.