If you’ve just gotten braces, we know that your eyes are already on the end goal: the day you get them off. With your entire orthodontic team working toward that end, our greatest hope is to reveal a straight, white smile. Sometimes, however, improper brushing throughout the treatment process results in less than ideal results: spotty or discolored teeth. Imagine living with braces for years and the only thing holding you back from the smile you deserve is discoloration. What a nightmare!
One of the most important parts of your orthodontic journey is keeping your teeth clean. While our team at Foley Orthodontics can take care of straightening your teeth, it is up to you to maintain good oral hygiene during your treatment. Brushing with braces may come with a bit of a learning curve, but we’ve got the ultimate tips for brushing with braces to get you through it.
Understand Why Brushing is Important
Just as important as knowing how to brush your teeth with braces is knowing why the new routine is necessary. You might be thinking, “isn’t brushing obvious?” Dr. Foley knows that you’ve been practicing brushing your teeth for your whole life, but braces add another level to the oral hygiene process that you must understand first.
Although you might not notice at first, the signs of bad brushing lurk around long before we ever remove your braces. Your gums may begin to swell, and your teeth may change color. When your braces are removed, your teeth may show permanent white or brown spots around the area the bracket was attached, making it obvious that you used to have braces. For patients who have worn braces for years, it can be very disappointing 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!
Practice Mindful Brushing
As you’ve learned so far, brushing with braces comes with its own set of rules. When braces are applied, suddenly, there are multiple new surfaces in your mouth to look out for. The best way to ensure you are cleaning all of them is to brush your teeth mindfully, paying attention to every detail.
Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush in gentle circles over and around each bracket. You’ll want to spend 30 seconds brushing each section of your mouth. Knowing your angles is essential in this step! By holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, clean the tops and bottoms of the brackets. Don’t forget to brush the back of your teeth, tongue, and gum line as well!
Brush Your Teeth After Each Meal
Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth morning and night, with or without braces. This is a good foundation for healthy teeth, but Dr. Foley advises his patients to brush their teeth after every snack or meal.
In general, brushing your teeth helps get rid of plaque that can cause cavities, gum disease, or even tooth decay. You’ll know if you have a plaque buildup if you feel a sticky coating on your teeth between brushes. If left on your teeth over time, plaque can cause a range of dental issues.
Unfortunately, braces can make it even harder to remove plaque. With so many more areas in your mouth that plaque can hide (behind wires, around brackets, even on rubber bands), it is no wonder that brushing properly is essential to keeping plaque away.
Use Your Home Care Kit
Foley Orthodontics will provide you with a home care kit the day we put your braces on. This kit comes with various tools to help you keep your teeth in tip-top shape, including a toothbrush, proxabrush, and floss threader. Each of these tools allows you to clean around and between each bracket and tooth.
Dr. Foley recommends a soft-bristled toothbrush for brushing. The soft bristles protect your brackets and allow you to brush your gum line without irritation. Your proxabrush is designed to scrub between brackets and underneath the wires, so you don’t miss any sections. Some orthodontic toothbrushes even come with a proxabrush head for convenience! Your floss threader works like a needle to floss beneath the wires and make sure all food particles and hidden plaque are removed.
Rinse Your Mouth Often
Removing food particles from the hard-to-reach places in your mouth is essential – you don’t want to “save your food for later”! Swishing with water after a meal is a great way to quickly remove leftover food particles from between your teeth in a pinch. Mouthwash is another excellent way to loosen up sticky particles while freshening your breath, too! Rinsing your mouth as often as possible is a low-maintenance way to keep your teeth clean and white throughout your experience with braces.
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.
Find Confidence in Your Smile with Foley Orthodontics
One of our biggest tips for taking care of your braces is finding an orthodontic team that supports you throughout the process. At Foley Orthodontics, we make it our mission to make you feel at home in our office so that you can feel as confident in us as you will in your smile.