You care about your teeth and want a healthy, straight smile. Your braces will take you in the right direction – now you have to clean them! Proper cleaning is essential to the health of your teeth while you have orthodontic work, but brushing with brackets, wires, and other pieces can be difficult. How do you do it?
Learning the right way to brush your teeth with braces can take getting used to, but with some practice, it becomes easy!
Start By Gathering The Right Tools
It is always easier to do a job well when you have all the necessary tools at the ready. Make sure to have:
- A cup of water
- Nonabrasive toothpaste
- A toothbrush (either manual or electric)
- Floss and a floss threader or a water flosser
- Proxabrush Go-Betweens – these are small brushes with soft bristles, perfect for getting between wires and brackets
Swish Some Water To Start
Take your cup, fill it with water, and rinse your mouth out. Swishing water around your mouth before brushing will loosen any stubborn food particles, making it easier to remove them by brushing. Next, take out any elastics, bands, or removable orthodontic pieces and set them in a safe place.
Get At All The Angles
You’ll want to make sure your brushing affects all parts of the mouth – you may be missing some spots in your ordinary routine. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently brush along the gum line. Next, adjust the angle down and brush the tops of your brackets carefully in a clockwise and counterclockwise motion. Once complete, reposition the brush up to get under the brackets and wire. Finish by cleaning the chewing and inner surfaces of your teeth.
Don’t Rush Your Brush
Always take your time when brushing your teeth with braces. Experts say you should spend a minimum of two minutes actively brushing your teeth, but it may take longer when you have braces. As you settle into a routine, your oral hygiene will become much easier to manage!
If you’re having trouble reaching certain areas because of the wires and brackets, try using a Proxabrush Go-Between after brushing. Its small size and flexibility will let you easily clean the hard-to-reach spots under and around your braces.
Flossing is still a necessary part of tooth care, even if the braces make it a challenge. Use a floss threader to maneuver string floss around your braces, moving the floss against your teeth and gums with gentleness. You may want to choose a water flosser to reach those tight spots in between your teeth.
Rinse With Mouthwash
After brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash. It will remove any food particles you may have missed, help eliminate germs and keep your breath fresh!
Change Your Toothbrushing Routine
You probably go by the “twice a day” rule when brushing your teeth – once in the morning, once before bed. However, your new braces can make it necessary to change your routine. Orthodontic work can make it easy to miss food particles on your teeth, all of which can quickly become harmful build-up. Plaque and food particles that linger on the teeth can cause weakened enamel, stains, and cavities.
To compensate, make it a point to brush your teeth after every meal. Many people choose to brush after snacks, too!
Take A Peek At Your Work
Once you’ve completed your cleaning, have a look in the mirror and evaluate your work. See if you missed any spots or need to improve your routine. If you’re satisfied, replace the elastics, bands, or orthodontic appliances you removed at the start.
If any parts of your brushing were challenging or you have questions about proper technique, be sure to ask your orthodontist for advice at your next check-up!