The start of your new braces means making adjustments to your oral hygiene routine. While the process of brushing and flossing doesn’t change too much while in treatment, you will need to put in a little more time and effort to get a thorough clean. Making sure to properly brush around the brackets and wires to get any debris while not causing any damage can be a challenging procedure. No worries, our expert team at Hemphill Orthodontics has seven tips for brushing your teeth with braces to help keep things easy.
#1 Rinse thoroughly
Swish warm water before brushing your teeth to remove any loose food particles that may have gathered around the brackets or under the wires. You may have 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 is no longer any debris, you can start brushing. Using an anti-cavity fluoride mouthwash can help reduce tooth decay and protect enamel!
#2 Choose the right toothpaste
Patients who are old enough to get braces are typically no longer using children’s toothpaste. If your child is still using this kind of toothpaste when their treatment begins, it may be time to choose an option better suited to their oral health needs. The American Dental Association and Dr. Hemphill recommend toothpaste with fluoride and stronger compounds better able to combat and neutralize bacteria.
#3 Don’t forget your gums
After your braces are attached, you may experience some gum sensitivity or inflammation. This is brief and will subside quickly with good hygiene practices. Try to follow the curve of the gums as you go from tooth to tooth. Make sure that you are not only brushing the brackets and wires on the front faces of your teeth, but that you are also going all the way to your gums to get the plaque and debris that builds up there.
#4 Brushing the brackets
Cleaning around brackets and wires can be tricky if you don’t take the time to prepare. The process is similar to brushing your teeth without braces, back and forth and in small circles. However, 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, too. Brushing down from the top of the bracket, up from the bottom, and at a circular angle around them will help in getting those hard-to-reach places.
Be 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 as you get to the pressure needed to properly clean your teeth with braces.
#5 Make sure to floss twice a day
Flossing is the most overlooked step in at-home oral care, especially for those who have braces. It’s important that you don’t skip this step because food debris, plaque, and bacteria can become lodged between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. There are some brands of disposable flossing sticks that can be very convenient. Dr. Hemphill will give you some samples of tools like interdental prox-a-brushes and orthodontic flossers 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.
#6 Take your time
It takes time and effort to adjust to having braces. It was challenging enough to work for two whole minutes without brackets and wires being in the way, so with the added difficulty of braces you can be tempted to rush and skip important steps. However, it’s more important than ever to take your time when brushing during orthodontic treatment to ensure the best results in an efficient time period. Most electric toothbrushes come with a built-in timer that can keep you accountable while giving you an extra hand at the actual cleaning.
#7 Rinse again
Once you’ve finished brushing and flossing your teeth, rinse your mouth out again with warm water to wash out any of the loose particles knocked free during the cleaning process. This gives your mouth an extra cleansing boost and makes sure that no leftover debris gets lodged back in your braces. You can even do this step with a fluoride-containing mouth rinse to optimize your oral health and freshness!
Trust your smile to the experts at Hemphill Orthodontics
Your smile deserves an expert team, and we want to guide you every step of the way along your smile journey. Whether you’re just getting started on your orthodontic journey or looking for a new office to visit, Hemphill Orthodontics is your location for modern orthodontic treatment. Our office is located in the Celina area, so your orthodontic care is always close to where you live and work. We’d love for you to reach out for your FREE consultation with our team at Hemphill Orthodontics to get started on your personalized journey to a healthy and happy smile.