The Dos and Don’ts of Brushing with Braces

The Dos and Don’ts of Brushing with Braces
How to brush with braces

Long Beach, CA – Properly caring for your teeth and gums is an important part of ensuring your overall health. A healthy smile can stave off gum disease, decay, and keep your smile pearly white. This is especially important while you are in orthodontic treatment, as dental issues that can arise from failing to brush and floss properly can delay your treatment and cause damage to your teeth and gum tissues.

Do brush your teeth after every meal. Your toothbrush will become your best friend during your orthodontic treatment. Be sure to brush thoroughly around each bracket to ensure no food has gotten trapped. Using a proxibrush to get food and plaque from underneath the wire is also helpful.

Don’t forget to floss. Flossing may take a bit of extra time, especially in the beginning, while you are making your way around the wires. Consider adding a floss threader to your oral care routine to make flossing a snap. There is also special floss for patients with braces called Superfloss that has a stiff tip to make easier to thread under the wires.

Do drink plenty of water. Water can help wash away any debris that might remain after you eat. This is especially important if you snack or eat a meal and can’t brush your teeth after. Water will wash away any remaining food particles to prevent them from causing any damage when they mingle with the natural bacteria that lives in your mouth.

Don’t forget your regular dental check-ups. It is important to continue to visit your regular dentist every six months, even during orthodontic treatment. That way, we can ensure your smile is healthy and strong enough to continue treatment. Some dentists do require the wires to be removed prior to your cleaning appointment, so please let your orthodontist know so we can schedule a time for you to come in and have the wires removed.

Do be sure you use the right toothbrush. A soft-bristled toothbrush can brush away the first layer of debris and build-up, and an interdental brush can help you clean thoroughly underneath your brackets and around your wires.

Don’t skip the mouthwash. Mouthwashes and rinses can not only help wash away remaining debris, but antiseptic mouth rinses can help reduce inflammation or irritation that can develop while wearing braces.

Do use a fluoride toothpaste. The right amount of fluoride works to strengthen your tooth enamel, helping to protect them against decay.

Don’t overbrush. It can be tempting to brush your teeth as often as possible, especially while in braces. But, it is possible to brush too much. Brushing too vigorously can actually wear down your tooth enamel and damage your gums, causing gum erosion that can lead to sensitivity.

Do have the right tools on hand. It can be helpful to pack a braces care kit for when you are on the go. Include a travel toothbrush, floss, mouthwash and anything else you may need, such as orthodontic wax and extra rubber bands.

Don’t damage your smile by eating the wrong things. Follow your orthodontist’s guidelines for diet while in braces to avoid damaging your brackets and wires. This typically includes staying away from anything hard, sticky, chewy or crunchy. Also be sure to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to ensure your smile is healthy. Brushing your teeth while in braces can take a bit of getting used to. The brackets and wires create new spaces for food particles to get trapped, so it is important to take the time to properly brush to ensure your smile is as clean as possible. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask your orthodontist for additional tips to ensure you have a healthy, bright smile to show off once your braces are removed.