Proper oral care is critical for everyone’s health, but it’s especially crucial for those who wear braces. Braces can fix an incorrect bite, straighten teeth, and give lifelong confidence. On average, patients wear braces for one to two years. Given this lengthy timeframe, it’s critical to brush your teeth correctly in order to keep your appliances in good shape and minimize tooth decay.
Preparation to Brush Teeth with Braces
Prep your teeth for brushing by removing all rubber bands and any other removable parts of your appliances. Rinse your mouth with water to loosen food particles lodged around your braces. After rinsing, floss your teeth. A floss threader can make flossing with braces easier, because you can access and dislodge food and plaque that would typically be tricky to latch onto with only floss.
Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
After you have covered the preliminary steps, start brushing your teeth using a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush, paired with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Brush the gumline at a 45-degree angle, followed by brushing the top of each bracket. Then re-angle your toothbrush and slowly brush the bottom of your brackets and wires, from the bottom to top. Be sure to clean each tooth individually, brushing in circular motions for around 10 seconds on each tooth. Once you are finished rinse with mouthwash and double check your teeth in the mirror to make sure you did not miss anything. When properly done, brushing teeth with braces could take three times as long as it did prior to wearing braces.
Braces and Oral Hygiene
Oral hygiene is an absolute must when wearing braces. To allow for simpler brushing, avoid all foods that are sticky, hard or chewy. Any food that crunches when you take a bite can bend the wires and damage your braces. Sugar from candy can become lodged behind your brackets, resulting in tooth decay—stay away from candy! The worst candies include hard candy, caramel, taffy or gummy candy. If you want to eat crunchy foods such as apples, pears, or carrots, cut them into bite-sized pieces—do not bite into them whole.
Follow Your Orthodontist’s Recommendations
Always follow your orthodontist’s instruction for oral and braces care. Be diligent in attending your orthodontic appointments every four to six weeks. Continue regular visits to your general dentist in addition to your orthodontic appointments. Regular visits to both will allow your dentist and orthodontist to make repairs, change wires, address any issues, and make suggestions specific to your situation.