Brushing And Flossing With Braces
When you have braces, it’s very important to make sure you are brushing and flossing properly after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment. Effectively cleaning orthodontic appliances ensures that plaque is not allowed to build up around the braces. Typically, if a proper oral hygiene routine is not strictly adhered to, gum inflammation and tooth decay can occur.
The key to brushing and flossing effectively with orthodontic braces is learning the best technique. Though everyone has different preferences, here are some excellent guidelines on how to get started:
Brushing with braces
Regular, proper brushing is especially important when braces have been applied to the teeth. If possible, brush teeth after every snack to eliminate plaque buildup. If this isn’t practical, aim to brush four times daily, including:
- After breakfast
- After lunch
- After dinner
- Right before bedtime
It is important to choose an appropriate toothbrush and to inspect the bristles routinely for signs of wear. The orthodontic braces will wear and fray the bristles, so replacement brushes will be needed more often than usual. A soft bristled toothbrush is best because it will not damage the arch-wire or brackets.
Here are the steps to guide you when brushing with braces:
- Get started: Remove elastics, bands, or removable parts of orthodontic appliances.
Clean your braces: Carefully clean around wires and pins.
Brush each wire: Move top to bottom, and all the way around upper and lower teeth.
Brush your teeth: Dental professionals recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice daily. That means each quadrant of your mouth gets 30 seconds. As you’re brushing, make sure to clean all areas of the tooth. Some people find they get the best clean going tooth by tooth.
Rinse, and then check your teeth: Rinse thoroughly. Examine teeth and braces in the mirror, and remember to look for any remaining food particles.
Flossing is also of paramount importance. Plaque and food particles can quickly provide fuel for the formation of bacteria colonies that cause gum disease and tooth loss. Though flossing between braces can be more time-consuming and tricky, it should still be completed several times per day.
Here are the steps to guide you during flossing:
- Floss once a day: Use waxed floss, dental tape or a product specifically designed to clean around your braces. Use waxed floss and thread it carefully under the main wire before passing between two teeth. Don’t snap it, simply move up and down gently, remove, and move on to the next pair of teeth.
- Use enough:About 18 inches of floss should suffice.
- Thread it carefully: Take the floss and carefully thread it under the main wire of the braces before passing it between two teeth. Then remove the floss and re-thread it under the main wire to pass between the next pair of teeth.
- Be sure not to snap the floss– simply move it up and down gently against the side of each tooth
It is also recommended for parents to do the flossing for younger children who lack the coordination to thread the floss under the main wire of their braces.
Plan Regular Checkups
Seeing your orthodontist for checkups and adjustments is essential. He or she can repair broken pieces, answer general questions, and address any irregularities such as cavities or gingivitis. Your dental professional may recommend a fluoride treatment as a precaution.
While you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, you should see the orthodontist approximately once a month. He or she will check the condition of your braces and other appliances to make sure that they are putting steady pressure on the teeth in order to achieve the effect that you want.