When you have braces, brushing your teeth becomes even more important – and more challenging – than ever before. To ensure your teeth remain clean and healthy, try these helpful tips for effective brushing when you have braces:
- Use a soft toothbrush. When you have braces, you can face increased risk of developing periodontal disease. The best way to protect yourself is to brush carefully between your braces and gums. However, a stiff brush may damage your gum tissue and raise your chance of infections.
- Debris first. Start with a wet toothbrush, but no toothpaste. Use the brush to remove debris that can be trapped in and around your brackets and wires. This can be easier to accomplish when toothpaste foam is not blocking your view.
- Use fluoride toothpaste. Toothpaste provides a deep clean, freshens breath, and the added fluoride helps protect teeth from decay.
- Start at the gumline at a 45-degree angle. Scrub your teeth gently to clean all surfaces. Clean your braces carefully.
- Brush for 2 minutes. Most people believe they brush a full two minutes, but when timed, find they generally brush about ¼ of that time. Use a timer to ensure you spend a full 30 seconds on each quarter of your teeth.
- Brush often. Braces can trap food debris and bacteria, which can increase your risk of discoloration, decay, and infection. Though twice daily brushing is generally sufficient for most people, braces-wearers should try to brush after every mean whenever possible. When you do not have the opportunity to brush, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after eating to help remove as many food particles as possible.
- Follow up. By itself, brushing is not enough to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Be sure to follow brushing with careful use of floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner. See your dentist for exams and professional cleanings as directed.
Braces can give you a straighter, healthier smile, but they require some added care and attention. For more tips on keeping your teeth and braces clean during your orthodontic treatment, contact our office.