Brushing with braces

There are so many good reasons to get braces. Some people get braces simply for cosmetic reasons. Others get braces because they have problems with their teeth that impact their ability to eat, impact their ability to speak and can have some long-term detrimental impacts on the appearance of their face.

The last thing that you’re going to want is to have your braces or your child’s braces removed only to find out that you or your child have a bunch of cavities because you did not adequately brush your teeth while you were wearing braces.

When you are wearing braces, you need to put forth extra effort not only to keep your teeth clean but also to prevent tooth decay and gingivitis. Part of the care comes from watching what you eat. You have to avoid sticky foods, crunchy foods and foods that are high in sugar.

Brushing with braces can be difficult. This is because the brackets on metal braces attract food. Plaque can grow on the braces and can start to affect your teeth. Many orthodontists recommend that when a person has braces, they brush their teeth more frequently than a person who does not have braces. They should be brushing their teeth at least once after every single meal. This means that you have to brush your teeth after breakfast, lunch, dinner and after having that mid-afternoon snack or sneaking out to the vending machine to purchase something. This is because food particles will find their way into your braces. The longer the food sits there, the higher the chance of decay beginning. Most orthodontists recommend that patients use a brush with soft bristles.

What if you give into the temptation to eat your favorite snack when you do not have a toothbrush available? Then you will need to improvise. Find water and vigorously rinse out your mouth. If you have mouthwash, that’s even better. As soon as you get the chance, brush your teeth.

When it comes to brushing with braces, there are some important steps to follow:

  • First, make sure your toothbrush is at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
  • Second, using a circular motion, brush the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth gently.
  • Third, using the tip of your toothbrush, gently brush the inner surfaces of the front teeth.

It is important that you take your time when you brush your teeth with braces. Don’t rush through it. Make sure that you are brushing every single tooth not only at the gum line but above and underneath each bracket. Doing this will improve the chances of you removing plaque and debris from your teeth’s surface.

Parents should pay special attention to the way that their younger children brush their teeth. They might need a little bit of help, especially when it comes to angling the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and using a circular motion. Watch them until you are confident that they are comfortable with brushing their teeth in this new way.

Brushing is just the start of the battle. Now comes flossing. Thankfully, you do not need to floss after every meal. But you do need to floss at least once a day. Your flossing should include between your teeth and underneath the wires. If you don’t floss, your teeth will not be healthy. Flossing is just as important, if not more important, than simply brushing with braces. Our orthodontist can recommend special floss or a floss threader to make it easier for you to floss your teeth while wearing metal braces. After you have finished flossing, use a mouthwash designed to kill bacteria. This will help reach any spaces brushing and flossing did not reach.

Brushing with braces is an extra challenge. It requires a lot of diligence. But you have dedicated a ton of time to getting braces. Don’t get sloppy with brushing your teeth since this could ruin all the hard work you are doing.

Located in Oak Lawn, Petty & Bielik Orthodontics is committed to helping patients achieve their dream smile. Practicing the proper brushing habits while wearing your braces is crucial to achieving the desired look. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation appointment.