Oral hygiene is extremely important, especially for people with braces. Why is it so essential to learn how to brush properly with braces? Brackets and wires have a lot of tiny spaces where food particles and plaque can get trapped. Therefore you must take extra care to avoid enamel staining, decalcification, and tooth decay around brackets. Be sure to visit your dental hygienist every six months, and follow the guidelines below to keep your teeth clean and healthy throughout orthodontic treatment.
Guidelines on How to Brush Properly with Braces
To ensure that your smile is as healthy and beautiful as possible when you get your braces taken off, follow these guidelines on how to brush and floss properly:
- Brush three times a day. Dr. Dougherty recommends brushing for three minutes, three times a day—in the morning, after lunch or after school, and at night before bed (with nothing to eat or drink afterwards except water).
- Remove elastics. Take off elastics, and any other removable parts, before you brush.
- Floss before brushing. Floss your teeth using super floss or floss threaders once a day, preferably at night, and remember to always floss before you brush. The super floss and threaders make it easier to pull your floss under your wires.
- Brush your braces at a 45-degree angle. Using your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, clean around the wires and braces. Brush from the top of each wire, then from the bottom, and then on top of the braces. Work all the way around your upper and lower teeth, making sure all food and debris are removed.
- Brush your teeth and tongue. Place a soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the junction between the tooth and the gum. Move in a circular motion over each individual tooth, applying gentle pressure, for about 10 seconds. Repeat this action on all outer and inner tooth surfaces, tilting your brush as needed. Remember to brush your tongue, too!
- Consider using an electric toothbrush. Oral B electric toothbrushes offer many advantages over manual brushes. Orthodontic heads are available to make brushing with braces even more effective. Read our next blog post for more info on the benefits of electric brushes.
- Rinse and check. After brushing, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. Examine your teeth and braces in the mirror to make sure they are totally clean and shiny. Contact your orthodontist immediately if you notice any loose or broken brackets.