Getting new braces can be both exciting and frustrating. You are eager to correct your orthodontic issues, and you look forward to showing off the results. During treatment, though, you might have to avoid certain foods altogether, while the simple tasks of eating and brushing your teeth can present new challenges. Here is a guide to properly brushing your teeth with braces.
Choose the Right Toothbrush
Although any basic toothbrush can get the job done, you will find that upgrading the quality of your toothbrush will make brushing easier. Look for a soft toothbrush with a small head and angled bristles. An electric toothbrush can also improve your brushing by providing more cleaning power in the same amount of time. Your mouth will be uncomfortable, especially during the first few weeks of your treatment, so it is worth treating yourself to a toothbrush that helps your mouth feel truly clean.
Choose the Right Toothpaste
Braces do not call for any specific brand or formulation of toothpaste. However, it is important to avoid whitening toothpastes at this time, since they will whiten only the sections of your teeth that are not encased in metal. Otherwise, feel free to choose your favorite brand and style.
Change Your Brushing Angle
Most people learned to brush their teeth straight on, which works just fine on uncovered teeth. To clean underneath the braces, as well as the metal pieces themselves, however, it is important to change your angle.
Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the faces of one section of teeth, and brush in small circles until those teeth are clean. Then move on to the next section of your teeth and repeat the process. After cleaning the faces of all of your teeth, repeat the process with the back surfaces. Finally, clean the chewing surfaces with a back and forth motion. The entire brushing process should take two to three minutes, or about the length of one song.
Take Advantage of Special Tools
Although brushing will take care of the majority of food debris and plaque, it can be tough to remove all tiny particles from around your braces. Fortunately, special tools can help. A proxabrush, or interdental toothbrush, looks like a small pipe cleaner. It is designed to slip between your braces and your teeth for cleaning. Water picks, which propel a small stream of water over your teeth, are also invaluable for cleaning around your wires.
Don’t Forget to Floss!
Flossing remains crucial to a good oral hygiene routine, even if you also use a water pick and a proxabrush. However, while flossing is normally a simple matter of holding the floss tightly against each tooth and working it up and down along and between your teeth, it is much more challenging with braces.
To get the floss underneath the wires and properly positioned, use a floss threader. Just like a sewing needle, you will push the end of the floss through the eye of the threader. Just push the threader gently underneath your wires, grab the free end, and floss like normal.
Brush More Often Than Usual
Proper oral hygiene requires everyone to brush at least twice per day. When you wear braces, though, this is not enough. Because it is so easy for food and plaque to get stuck in and around your braces, try to brush after every meal. Gum disease and decalcification, or white spots on the teeth, are real risks for braces wearers. If you are unable to brush after a particular meal, be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to limit the amount of sticky debris that is left behind.
Wearing braces requires you to make some fundamental lifestyle changes. With a bit of practice, though, your new oral care routine will be second nature. And all the sacrifices will be well worth it when you unveil your new, picture perfect smile.
At Family Dental Care of Bellevue, we are committed to providing quality dental care to our patients and their families. We are proud to have been voted one of the best dental offices in Washington State. If you are ready to take the first steps toward improving your dental health, we invite you to call 425-643-5778 today to make an appointment for your initial consultation.