When you have braces, it's very important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment. If you need help learning the proper technique or developing effective habits, please ask us, and we can help you best care for your teeth and your appliance.
Brushing with Braces
Brush your teeth for two minutes after every meal with a soft-bristled, small-headed toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. As an alternative, you can use a powered toothbrush to increase your brushing effectiveness. Brush the outside and inside surfaces of your teeth using small, gentle, circular motions while positioning the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Brush the chewing surfaces and the inside surface of your front teeth using short, gentle, back-and-forth motions. Pay close attention to the areas around your brackets and under the wire! This is the area where patients have the most difficulty and where unsightly white spots most commonly develop. Position the toothbrush above the wire so the bristles are as vertical as possible and push the bristles down, under the wire, and all the way through, so the tips of the bristles are visible below the wire. Then, turn the brush so the bristles point upward and use the same technique in the opposite direction.
If we have expressed concern with your ability to keep your braces clean, you might try to brush with just water at first. Use a mirror and brush, rinse, brush, rinse, repeat. Looking closely, without the foamy toothpaste in the way, can allow you to see what you might be missing. You can always finish off with toothpaste after they are clean.
If a prescription toothpaste (Prevident) has been recommended, it is to be used just before bedtime and after the teeth are already clean. Use a small amount and appy it to all surfaces of the teeth and around the braces. Spit out the excess and do not eat, rinse, or drink afterward. The higher concentration of fluoride in this product helps strengthen tooth enamel to better resist the effects of plaque.
Flossing with Braces
Flossing after day will help keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy. To floss with braces, use a floss threader or special orthodontic floss to thread the floss behind each wire. Wrap the ends of the floss around your middle fingers of both hands, leaving a few inches of taut floss between them. Gently slide the floss between each set of teeth using an up-and-down motion. Floss the sides of each tooth beneath the gum line to remove plaque and food particles. Repeat this process until you’ve flossed all of your teeth. This can be tricky to learn and is often frustrating, so please ask us to help you!