Now that you’ve got your braces, you’re in for an exciting journey to the end goal: a happier, healthier smile. When you finally get to the day Dr. Ken or Dr. J.K. remove your braces, you’ll want to see two things: straight teeth and white teeth.
Dillehay Orthodontics can easily help you get the straight part down — that’s our job! But between appointments, it’s on you to brush your teeth properly and consistently so your teeth will be white when your braces come off.
With all the new brackets and wires, brushing your teeth with braces may feel slightly different and will probably take some getting used to. Luckily, the Dillehay Orthodontics team has compiled a list of tips and tricks for brushing your teeth with braces. Keep reading to learn more!
Understand Why Brushing is Important
If you have been brushing your teeth your whole life, it makes sense to wonder why you have to change your routine with braces. While the simple 2-minute method of brushing your dentist taught you is the best way to manage your teeth without braces, it is only a foundation for brushing with braces. There are multiple extra steps you need to take when brushing with braces, and knowing why makes all the difference.
Typically, poor brushing isn’t very noticeable until the day your braces are taken off. We sometimes find discoloration around the area the bracket was attached when this happens. Permanent white spots may form on your teeth, causing a bleached-out look on only some parts of each tooth. Because these spots form around the bracket, it can be very apparent that they are due to poor brushing around braces. In other cases, even more noticeable brown spots might be left behind.
It can be very disappointing for patients who have worn braces for years to wind up with straight but spotty teeth. That’s why our list of tips for brushing with braces is about to become your best friend!
Consider Using an Electric Toothbrush
Dentists have recommended electric toothbrushes for years, and orthodontists agree that they’re great tools for brushing with braces. According to research, patients who use electric toothbrushes have healthier gums and less chance of tooth decay than those who use manual toothbrushes.
Because of their oscillating brush heads, they are great for getting rid of built-up plaque that can form around your brackets and wires. Plus, they usually have a built-in self-timer to help you brush for the appropriate amount of time.
Fortunately, we live in a modern era where we can google nearly any question and get the results we need. Your grandma may have had to wait for her next orthodontic appointment to ask questions about brushing with braces, but you don’t have to!
There are so many resources that will help you learn how to brush with braces. If you’re a visual learner, don’t be afraid to look up videos to watch how you should brush with braces!
Brush After Every Meal
It may feel like second nature to brush your teeth morning and night. However, when braces come into the picture, the best way to ensure your teeth are clean is to brush them after each meal.
Plaque usually forms quickly after eating, and with all those brackets, wires, and rubber bands in your mouth, plaque has many more places to hide. Brushing after every meal means plaque never gets the chance to form, and even if you miss a section when brushing, you are much more likely to clean it later if you are brushing your teeth more often.
Use Your Home Care Kit
The day we put your braces on, Dillehay Orthodontics will give you a goody bag filled with helpful tools that will help you keep your teeth clean. The essential items included in this kit are a toothbrush, proxabrush, and floss threader. Each of these tools allows you to clean around and between each bracket and tooth.
We recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush for brushing with braces. The soft bristles protect the metal on your brackets. Your proxabrush is designed to scrub between brackets and underneath the wires, so you don’t have to worry about missing any sections. Some orthodontic toothbrushes even come with a proxabrush head.
Your floss threader works like a needle to help you to floss beneath the wires to remove all food particles and hidden plaque.
Understand How to Brush
Even though this seems obvious, brushing teeth with braces is an added oral hygiene challenge! Because of this challenge, you may need to relearn some of your old brushing methods.
To begin, you’ll need to use a gentle, circular motion with your toothbrush. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle on the top and bottom of your brackets to be sure to clean each tooth thoroughly. That means you will be brushing in three different positions for each part of your mouth for at least 30 seconds each.
Don’t forget to brush the backs of your teeth, along your gum line, and your tongue! Plaque is pesky and can hide anywhere!
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Rinsing!
Rinsing your mouth with water, mouthwash, or even a water flosser is a great way to maintain the cleanliness of your teeth throughout the day. Not only does rinsing keep your breath smelling fresh, but it also removes food particles that can easily become lodged in between brackets or teeth. You don’t want to “save your food for later,” and regular rinsing can help make sure you don’t.
Water flossers are excellent tools for keeping your mouth rinsed and clean. Although they can’t replace regular dental floss, they are a perfect supplement for your rinsing routine. Like traditional dental floss, water flossers like the WaterPik use a steady stream of water to dislodge food particles from those hard-to-reach places in your mouth.
Get Started With Dillehay Orthodontics
When it comes to getting your braces, the most important step of all is to choose the right orthodontist for you. You’ll be working with your orthodontist for a long time, so you’ll want a team that has experience in creating beautiful smiles.
Dillehay Orthodontics has years of experience and a great team that makes getting a straight smile a breeze. If you’re considering getting orthodontic treatment, schedule your free consultation with one of our doctors today!