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Guide to Brushing with Braces

Sep 25, 2019 | Orthodontist

Whether you have just recently had braces put on or you have already had your braces, you know that brushing is going to be a crucial task during the duration of your braces process. Caring for your teeth becomes even more critical now that braces are in the picture. The cleaning process has to become more diligent, and you have to be cautious about what you eat. Dental Braces do make cleaning much more difficult because food particles can adhere to the braces. So, it is crucial to learn how to brush your teeth with braces.

How to care for your teeth with braces

There are several things that you need to know about how to care for your teeth and braces. It is important to know what is the best toothbrush, how many times should you brush, should you floss, does it hurt to brush the brackets, and so on. For our team at Omar Orthodontics, no question is a stupid question if you want to give yourself the best oral hygiene that you can. This guide is going to provide you with the necessary information for you to properly brush your teeth with braces. If your question does not get answered here, do not hesitate to reach out and give our office a call. 

Can I Brush My Teeth On The First Day of Braces?

Your teeth will feel some soreness after having braces put on for the first time. Even though your teeth may feel tender, you do still need to brush your teeth. Any discomfort you may experience is only temporary. You can take over-the-counter pain medications or do salt water rinses to bring relief during the day and when you brush.

How Many Times a Day Should You Brush Your Teeth With Braces?

Every orthodontist will tell you that you should brush your teeth after every meal and snack. It is also still important to brush before bed because it ensures that plaque does not have enough time to form and then sit on your teeth all night. Make sure you are checking your teeth in a mirror after every meal, so you can physically see if any remaining food particles are sitting in the brackets. 

If particles are stuck in the braces or gums, dental plaque will form. It is a sticky, colorless film that contains bacteria and it forms after food is left on the teeth for too long. When food is not cleaned out properly, the food will stick to the braces and create plaque. If teeth are not brushed after every meal with braces, there is a higher chance of tooth decay and gum disease. 

Can I Use An Electric Toothbrush On My Braces?

You can use a traditional toothbrush if you’d like, but you are also able to use an electric toothbrush. However, it is crucial to pick a toothbrush that has sensitive vibrations that do not damage the brackets. Oral-B Electric Toothbrush has a sensitive mode which means it functions at a lower speed for extra safe care and comfort along your gums, wires, and brackets. If you use your electric toothbrush at a full speed vibration, there is a chance that brackets can be loosened, which requires a quick trip back to the orthodontist for repairs.

Prep Before Brushing

For the most part, brushing seems relatively simple, right? Now that you have braces, the process has to be diligent. It is vital to use good food choices, use the right tools, and use the right toothbrush.

Foods To Avoid While Wearing Braces

There are many foods that you should stay away from while you have braces. Chewy or sticky foods (candy), popcorn, and carbonated and sugary beverages are not suitable for braces and can cause issues. Some issues that can arise from certain foods are breaking or loosening of brackets, trapping of kernels in gum line of brackets, and increase of plaque in surfaces of teeth. 

Special Tools to Keep Your Braces Clean

Some tools have been created that have made cleaning your braces and teeth easier for you. No matter what you eat, food particles can still be left behind, but now, there are special tools like rubber-tipped gum massagers and toothpicks that help make cleaning easier. If those particles are still being difficult, rinsing your mouth with water can help to loosen particles before you proceed with cleaning. 

What Kind of Toothbrush to Use With Braces

Picking the right toothbrush can be extremely beneficial for you. You can ask your orthodontist what they recommend you should use depending on your customized plan. Typically, an electric toothbrush will do the trick, and as previously mentioned, make sure you use it on a sensitive mode. A traditional toothbrush can be used but make sure it is braces-friendly and can clean around brackets and wires (typically with v-shaped bristles). You may have to trade out your brushes more frequently with braces; the constant brushing on the brackets will damage the bristles and make them stick out. It is recommended to replace your toothbrush every two months to maintain consistent cleaning results. 

While Brushing

Selecting the Right Toothpaste for Braces

Toothpaste does play a significant role in maintaining good oral hygiene. It is not recommended to use a whitening toothpaste once you have braces put on. It may have been harmless in the past, but now that you have brackets, it could potentially cause an uneven whitening of your teeth around the brackets. When the braces eventually are removed, you could have dull squares on your white teeth from the whitening toothpaste not getting under the brackets. Instead, use a toothpaste that has fluoride in it to help fight cavities. 

Proper Brushing Technique for Braces

When you are brushing your teeth without braces, you can directly brush straight on your teeth and gums with no issues. When you have braces, you have to brush at different angles to be able to clean the entire tooth. You will have to angle your toothbrush up to get under the brackets and wires, and then you will have to angle your toothbrush down to get around the brackets and wires. Tilting and angeling will help to successfully clean your teeth, brushing flat or parallel may be enough to reach every surface of your teeth. 

Typically, without braces, a person needs to brush two minutes. Brushing your teeth with braces may require an extended amount of time until you get the hang of cleaning in angled motions. It is still important to brush around two to three minutes. Some toothbrushes have built-in timers, but you can also set a timer on your phone while you brush your teeth. 

After Brushing

Using Floss and Oral Rinse with Braces

Your cleaning process is not yet finished even though you just finished brushing your teeth. You still have to floss and rinse to help maintain excellent oral hygiene. Flossing with braces can be difficult; there is floss that is designed for orthodontic treatment. There is a floss threader that helps move floss behind the wiring. It also helps place the floss in between your teeth. Flossing picks have been designed to fit in your teeth, and they do not touch or bother your wires. 

After brushing and flossing, you can rinse your mouth out with water and then rinse with a fluoride liquid. Just like toothpaste, there are teeth whitening rinses; again, it is crucial to stay away from any teeth whitening products. Oral rinses can help to deter harmful effects that may be caused by acids from different foods. 

If you have any questions regarding brushing your teeth with braces, you can reach out to any of our team members at Omar Orthodontics. We will be happy and ready to answer any of your questions.