Brushing and flossing regularly are essential to healthy teeth and a beautiful smile. Braces can make brushing and flossing a bit more challenging, but there are ways to brush and floss properly with braces. The right tools can make it much easier to brush and floss regularly with your braces, so you’ll end up with beautiful, straight teeth by the end of your treatment. Not brushing with braces can lead to white spots on your teeth, which is why we encourage brushing.
At Ohana Orthodontics, we want our patients to have the best treatment possible. We are happy to show our patients tips and tricks to make their treatment easier. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Use the Right Toothbrush
You may think it doesn’t matter which one you use, but the right toothbrush does matter when it comes to your braces. The first thing you want to look for is soft bristles. The softer bristles will irritate your gums less. They are also gentler on your enamel, the hard outer shell of your tooth.
We also recommend using an electric toothbrush. While manual toothbrushes are OK, today’s electric toothbrushes usually have multiple modes of movement that get into the nooks and crannies a manual toothbrush might not reach. It makes it easier to clean around your braces, brackets, and wires. So if you want the best way to brush with braces, look for a soft-bristled, electric toothbrush.
Use the Right Toothpaste
There are as many toothpaste varieties as there are toothbrushes. Which one is the best toothpaste to use? The main thing to look for is fluoride, which protects your enamel and reduces the chances of tooth decay. Luckily, most toothpaste today has fluoride in them, so it should be easy to find.
We strongly recommend you do NOT use whitening toothpaste during your braces treatment. The toothpaste would whiten your teeth, but not the parts under the brackets. That means you’d end up with dark squares on your teeth once the braces are removed.
Use Flossing Tools
Flossing can become a real challenge once you get your braces. How are you supposed to get the floss between your teeth with those wires in the way? It’s easier than you think with the right tool.
Use a floss threader. These thin, plastic devices can be found at most major retailers and pharmacies. They look like sewing needles with a giant eye, but they’re a flat, thin plastic that can fit under your archwire and slide between your teeth.
You simply thread the floss through the eye like you would thread through a sewing needle. Then slide the floss threader through your teeth, pulling the floss with it. Then you can floss between your teeth properly.
Some patients opt for a water flosser, such as a WaterPik. These devices are great to supplement brushing and flossing, but if you want to brush and floss properly with braces, use the electric toothbrush and the floss threader. A water flosser doesn’t have the scrubbing power of a toothbrush or dental floss, but it can get some of the food particles out that might be hiding around your brackets or in between your teeth. For that reason, they are a great add-on tool to brushing with braces.
Try Using a Fluoride Mouthwash
Using fluoride mouthwash with braces can provide an extra layer of protection for your teeth. The mouthwash gets in and around your brackets and straight to your teeth, providing an extra layer of protection for your tooth enamel. Because it’s more difficult to brush and floss with braces, the chances of tooth decay increase. Fluoride mouthwash can reduce those chances.
Make sure you wait about half an hour after brushing so the fluoride in your toothpaste has time to work on your enamel. Then wait until half an hour after you use your mouthwash before you eat or drink anything. That way, the fluoride in the mouthwash has time to build that extra protection.
Brush and Floss Every Day!
Patients ask how often they should brush their teeth with braces. The standard recommendation is that you should be brushing your teeth for two minutes at a time, at least twice a day. Brushing upper and lower teeth/gums after meals is recommended if wearing braces. The less food buildup you have in and around your braces, the less chance you have of developing cavities during your treatment.
Cavities and gum disease can delay your treatment time because we may have to remove your bracket and archwire so the dentist can fill your cavity. Once the cavity is filled, you have to return to us so we can replace the bracket and archwire. That’s why it’s so important to brush and floss regularly.
If you can’t brush after every meal, you can rinse your mouth with water to remove food particles. Rinsing won’t substitute brushing and flossing, but it will help until you can brush and floss properly.
Once you are able to brush, make sure you are brushing each tooth gently, getting all chewing surfaces. Flossing first prepares teeth, bringing plaque and food debris to the surface so that brushing can eliminate them.
Braces Treatment in Canby, OR
If you’re looking for braces treatment in the Canby, OR, area, schedule an appointment with Ohana Orthodontics. We provide orthodontic treatment with braces and Invisalign, and we’ll be happy to work with you on the best way to care for your teeth throughout your treatment. Our goal is for you to walk out with the smile you’ve dreamed of having!