Oral Hygiene with Braces: Brushing and Flossing Correctly
Brushing and flossing is a skill learned at a young age. When you get braces, those same oral hygiene techniques you have been using will need to be tweaked to properly care for your braces. In this article we will discuss how to brush your teeth with braces and also how to floss your teeth with braces. The right way.
You’ve finally got braces and you can’t wait to show off your beautiful, straight smile after the braces treatment is over. In order to achieve this beautiful smile after braces, you need to care for your braces properly. Cleaning teeth properly becomes a little difficult with braces on, and you may end up with yellow teeth after braces, decalcifcation, cavities or even worse, gum disease
Your teeth may be perfectly straight, but your smile will not be pearly white and disease free unless you maintain good oral hygiene with braces. And to do that, you must adopt new brushing and flossing techniques, as suggested by your orthodontist, as soon as you get braces.
If you would like to find out the correct techniques to ensure optimum oral hygiene with braces, read on. You will learn how to brush your teeth with braces as well as how to floss with braces plus other pro tips.
How to brush your teeth with braces?
In order to learn how to brush your teeth with braces, follow the below given steps:
Step 1: Start by rinsing your mouth so that the food particles stuck between teeth and inside brackets become soft and easily removable. If the wires of your braces are removable, remove them too before you start brushing teeth.
Step 2:Bite your teeth together and start brushing the front upper and lower teeth in a circular motion. Make sure to brush the molars too.
Step 3: Slant the brush and place it on the upper set of teeth. Now move it back and forth across the teeth so that it cleans the part above and below the braces. Do not leave out the gumline. Repeat the same on the lower set of teeth.
Step 4:Brush the brackets in small circles to dislodge any food stuck behind them. Spend a minimum of 25 seconds on each bracket.
Step 5: Brush the insides of the lower and upper set of teeth.
Pro Tip – Use an interdental brush that has an angled head. It would move easily and clean around your braces well. You can also wiggle an interdental brush down the holes in brackets to clean inside them thoroughly.
How often should you brush with braces?
Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal if you have braces. This ensures that there is no food left behind, which may harden around the brackets and form plaque. If you’re travelling and don’t have your dental kit, use at least a fluoride-containing mouthwash to wash off the food particles. If you do not let plaque settle, you won’t see a huge difference in color between the exposed part of teeth and the part covered by brackets when you finally get the braces removed.
How to floss teeth with braces on?
Now that you know how to brush your teeth with braces, lets discuss how to floss with braces. Take the below given steps to learn how to floss with braces:
Step 1: Take a long floss string, which is about 46 cm or 18 inches. Wrap it around the index fingers of both hands and try to insert it in the space between every two teeth.
Step 2: Bend the string towards the gum on each side of the teeth so that it forms a “C” shape. Give each tooth 20-30 seconds so that there are no food particles left behind.
Step 3: Take the floss string,push it under the wires, and move it gently to clean beneath the braces. If you have floss with finishing wires, you will not be able to do so. In that case, push the thread between the tooth space, from above the wires. The easiest way to floss with braces and be sure you are getting under the wire all the way to the gum line is going to be with floss threaders or super floss. This makes it super easy to thread under the wire. See pics below.
Step 4: Once the food particles come loose between the teeth after flossing, use a water flosser – a device with a steady water stream – to get rid of plaque in nooks and crannies that your floss or toothbrush can’t reach. Check out best water flossers of 2020.
A Few Other Tips to Maintain Oral Hygiene with Braces
- Gargle with salt water two times a day. It soothes minor mouth injuries due to metal brackets and also prevents gingivitis.
- Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly under running water, preferably hot, to get rid of food particles on the bristles.
- Bristles can accumulate bacteria if not washed properly for a few days. So soak it in chlorhexidine mouthwash to get rid of particles from the last time you used it.
- Replace your toothbrush after every three months, even if it hasn’t worn down. If you use an interdental toothbrush, you will need to change its head often. Check out- How often to replace your toothbrush?
- Avoid sticky, chewy, and sweet foods that can stick to your teeth and rot inside your mouth and cause tooth decay. Also, avoid carbonated drinks, colored beverages, and hard foods such as corn on the cob, nuts, hard pretzels, apples, etc.
- Maintain a balanced diet with protein, fiber, carbohydrate, and good fat to prevent gingivitis. Add nutritious foods such as bananas, greens, whole grains, and soft fruits to your diet.
- Visit your orthodontist for professional teeth cleaning every 8 to 12 months.
I am sure you can’t wait to get rid of your braces and get a major confidence boost with a straight and white smile. But would it be possible if you don’t take good care of your teeth? No!
Follow the oral care techniques explained above on how to brush your teeth with braces and how to floss with braces to get a white and healthy smile that you have been dreaming of.
Creating perfect smiles is what Dr. Satish Pai is committed to. An orthodontist by profession, he believes that a perfect smile is a powerful part of a person’s personality. When he is not working hard on perfecting his patients’ smiles at Putnam Orthodontics, he is busy writing engaging articles about everything related to healthy and perfect smiles. His other passions include golf, yoga and surfing. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face.
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.