A big part of starting your braces treatment is making adjustments to your oral hygiene routine. The process of brushing and flossing doesn’t change much when you have braces, but you’ll need to allow a little more effort than usual to get a thorough clean. Making sure to properly brush around the brackets and wire to get any debris and bacteria while not causing any damage can be a tricky procedure. Lucky for you, our expert office at Buttram Orthodontics has seven tips for brushing your teeth with braces to help you out.
#1 Take your time
It can take time and effort to adjust to having braces. It was tricky enough to make the two-minute mark without braces, and the added complications of brackets and wires can make you want to rush through important steps. It’s more important than ever to take your time when brushing during braces treatment to ensure the best results by the end of your treatment. Most electric toothbrushes come with a built-in timer that can keep you accountable while giving you an extra hand at the actual cleaning.
#2 Choose the right toothpaste
Patients who are old enough to get braces are usually no longer using children’s bubblegum flavored toothpaste. If your child is still using this kind of toothpaste when their treatment starts, it may be time to choose an option better suited to their oral health needs. The American Dental Association and Buttram Orthodontics recommend toothpaste with fluoride and stronger compounds better able to combat and neutralize bacteria.
#3 Rinse thoroughly
Before you start brushing, gargle warm water and spit it into the sink before brushing to remove any loose food particles that may have gathered underneath and around the brackets. You may need to do this a couple of times to get most of the debris out. Rinse as many times as necessary until the water you spit is clear. Once there are no longer pieces of debris, you can start brushing your teeth.
#4 Don’t forget your gums
The gums are an easy spot to forget to brush because they are less visible After your braces are on, you may experience some gum sensitivity or inflammation. This is usually brief and will subside quickly. 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.
#5 Brushing the brackets
Cleaning around brackets and wires can be difficult if you don’t take the time to prepare. Most of the time, the process is very similar to 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 for effective cleaning. Start by holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush along the gum line. Next, shift the angle of the toothbrush so that you can carefully brush the tops of your brackets. Then, reposition the toothbrush to angle up so that you can brush under the brackets and wire. Brushing down from the top of the bracket, up from the bottom, and in a circular angle around them will help in getting those hard-to-reach places.
Make sure not to apply too much pressure that you damage the wires or brackets themselves. If you are using an electric toothbrush, dial back the intensity or even opt for a standard brush as you get to the pressure needed to properly clean your teeth with braces.
#6 Make sure to floss twice a day
Flossing has many oral health benefits, but it’s also often the most overlooked step, especially for those who have the hardware of braces, which can make the challenge more difficult. It’s important that you don’t skip this step because debris, plaque, and bacteria can become lodged between teeth and brackets. There are also disposable flossing sticks that can be used to get to hard-to-reach places where debris can be lodged. Dr. Buttram will give you a tool, called an interdental proxy brush, to help make this process easier. Floss the gum line with the floss in the shape of a “C” and below the gum line with a soft up and down motion. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when flossing around the archwire.
#7 Rinse again
Once you’ve thoroughly brushed and flossed your teeth, rinse your mouth out again with warm water to wash out any of the loose particles knocked free during the process. This gives your mouth an extra cleansing boost and makes sure that no leftover debris gets lodged back in your braces.
Trust your smile at Buttram Orthodontics
The start of treatment can be a difficult adjustment, so it’s important to make sure you’re in good hands. Buttram Orthodontics is the place for exceptional orthodontic treatment. Dr. Buttram has been in the exclusive practice of orthodontics for over thirty years and is passionate about providing quality care to every patient who visits us.
Our office is conveniently located in Panama City, Florida, so your orthodontic care is always close to home, school, or work. We encourage you to reach out for your FREE consultation at Buttram Orthodontics to get started on your personalized journey to a healthy and happy smile.