Now that you've got braces, your at-home oral care routine will need extra attention. Our Edmonton dentists discuss how to clean your teeth with braces in this post.
You care about the health of your teeth and want to do everything you can to achieve a straight smile and excellent long-term oral health - that's why you chose to undergo orthodontic treatment with braces.
Now, for likely the next year or two, you've got to ensure your teeth stay clean and healthy while your braces start to do their job. Learning how to brush your teeth with braces and remaining committed to a solid daily oral hygiene routine will be key to keeping your smile bright - and plaque at bay - while you're wearing brackets and wires.
How to Brush Your Teeth With Braces
Braces are designed to help straighten your teeth. After your orthodontic treatment is complete, you may notice a difference in your smile - and that your teeth are easier to brush and keep clean. That said, while the braces on your teeth, food particles, bacteria and plaque will have more tiny crevices in which they can accumulate and potentially become trapped.
When advising patients about how to clean their teeth with braces, we often recommend they prepare to spend three time as long on their oral care routine. However, don't despair - maintaining a healthy, whiter smile free of cavities will be worth your time. In addition, neglecting oral hygiene during your braces treatment can lead to an increased risk of gum disease.
1. Commit to a Routine
It's easier to miss food particles, debris and plaque buildup on your teeth when you've got brackets, wires and other bits and pieces of your braces to contend with. That's why brushing your teeth after every meal will become important. You may even choose to brush after eating snacks.
2. Round Up These Items
Before you begin, set out everything you'll need on your bathroom counter to brush your teeth. This may include:
- A cup
- An electric or manual toothbrush
- Proxabrushes (also referred to as go-between brushes or interdental brushes)
- Non-abrasive toothpaste
- Floss and floss threader or water flosser
3. Rinse Your Mouth With Water
Fill the cup with water and swish the water around inside your mouth before starting to brush. Doing this can loosen food particles and debris, potentially making it easier for you to brush and floss them away. Remove any bands, elastics or removable orthodontic pieces as instructed by your orthodontist and set them aside in a safe spot.
4. Brush on a 45-Degree Angle
Once you've rinsed your toothbrush, squeeze out a small amount of non-abrasive toothpaste. Begin by holding your brush at a 45-degree angle and brushing gently along your gum line.
Then, shift the angle of your toothbrush so you can brush the tops of your brackets before repositioning the brush to angle up so you can reach under the wire and brackets. Make sure to clean each tooth. Finally, brush the inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth.
5. Take Time to Brush Thoroughly
With braces, it's even more important to take your time and thoroughly brush every surface of your teeth and braces. Count on spending at least two minutes actively brushing your teeth - perhaps longer, particularly when you are first getting used to cleaning your teeth with braces.
If you find yourself having difficulty reaching each tooth surface due to brackets and wires, you may want to use a proxabrush after brushing with your regular toothbrush. The proxabrush's flexibility and small size can help you reach under and around your braces.
While many people find it challenging to floss while brackets and wires are attached to the teeth, flossing once a day will be an important part of your oral care routine. Using a floss threader to gently move the floss around your braces may help (about 18 inches of floss should suffice).
Thread the floss under the main wire of the braces, then pass it between two teeth. After removing the floss, re-thread it under the main wire to pass between the next two teeth. Move the floss up and against the side of each tooth.
A water flosser may be another tool to consider using to help clean the crevices between your teeth, where plaque may accumulate and cavities can often grow.
7. Do a Final Rinse
Once you've thoroughly brushed and flossed your teeth, rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash to help remove any remaining food particles, destroy germs and freshen your breath.
8. Check Your Teeth
Now that you've done all that, take a couple of minutes to check your work in the mirror. Taking the time to do this can help you assess how you've done and whether your routine needs more work in some areas. When your satisfied, replace any removable orthodontic appliances, bands or elastics and put all your tools away.
Treatment With Braces at Azarko Dental Group
Our dentists can complete an assessment and diagnose orthodontic conditions. Whether your teeth are misaligned or crowded, or you've got an issue with your bite, we can recommend appropriate orthodontic treatment options.
If you have any questions or concerns about brushing your teeth and maintaining oral hygiene while wearing braces, our dentists in Edmonton are here to address them.