Brushing your teeth is extremely important. But when you have braces, brushing can be tricky and sometimes painful. Getting plaques out of the teeth and cleaning the brackets and wires can be challenging. Fortunately, learning the technique is easy. All you need is practice and patience! Read through to find out more.
But before diving into the process, here are things that you need to know.
What are plaques?
Plaque is a colorless or pale yellow biofilm that forms in the teeth. It is made of bacteria and forms between your teeth and along the gum line. This happens when the saliva, food, and fluids combine.
Unfortunately, having braces makes it harder to remove plaque and food debris. But learning the proper ways is the key to healthy teeth and gums even with braces.
What toothbrush should you use with braces?
- Soft-bristled brush – It is the most recommended by dentists. It can clean your teeth without causing any abrasion. This abrasion can cause tooth decay and gum disease in the long run.
- Orthodontic toothbrush – This looks like an ordinary manual toothbrush. But the difference is, its middle is hollowed. The V-shaped bristles can clean braces and teeth better.
- Interdental brush – This is a tiny brush that is used to clean the parts between teeth and wires. Using this along with tooth brushing is proven to reduce plaque better, compared to brushing alone.
How many times should you brush?
Every orthodontist recommends that you brush after every meal. It is also very important to brush your teeth before bed. This ensures that plaques will not have enough time to form on your teeth during the night.
Make sure that you check also check your teeth in the mirror after a meal. Do this to see if there is remaining food debris on your teeth and in the brackets. When food debris is not removed, it becomes the plaque that will stick to your teeth and braces.
Can you brush your teeth on the first day of braces?
Your teeth will feel sore after having braces for the first time. This is perfectly normal. But you still need to brush your teeth. Any discomfort or pain that you may feel is only temporary. You can alleviate this pain by taking over-the-counter pain relievers. Doing the salt and water rinse also gives relief.
How to brush your teeth with braces?
1. Gather your tools.
It is always easier to do a task when you can easily reach everything you need. As you prepare to brush, make sure that all these tools are ready.
- A cup
- A soft-bristled electric or manual toothbrush
- A non-abrasive toothpaste
- Dental floss and floss threader
- Interdental brush
- Mouth wash
2. Start with rinsing.
After gathering all your tools in one place, fill the cup with water and rinse your mouth. Swishing water inside your mouth before brushing can loosen the food debris. This makes it easier to remove them.
You should also remove the elastic bands or any removable orthodontal pieces and set them in one place.
3. Angle the brush.
Top your brush with non-abrasive toothpaste. To start brushing, angle your brush at a 45-degree and brush along the gum line. Do this in a circular and gentle motion.
Next, shift the angle of your toothbrush and brush the tops of the brackets carefully. Then position your toothbrush angle up so you can brush under the archwire and brackets. Then brush the inner surfaces of your teeth.
4. Take your time
When you have braces, it is important to take your time when brushing. Make sure that you brush your braces and teeth thoroughly.
Normally, you should brush for at least two minutes. But with braces, it might take you longer, especially when you are still learning the proper method or technique.
If you find it hard to clean all the surfaces of your teeth, you can use an interdental toothbrush after brushing. This tiny toothbrush will help you clean under the archwires and around the brackets.
5. Don’t forget to floss.
After brushing your teeth, don’t forget to floss. Then rinse your mouth with water.
6. Rinse with antibacterial mouthwash.
When you’re done brushing and flossing, it’s time to rinse your mouth again. Using an antibacterial mouthwash will help eliminate germs and gives you fresh breath.
How to floss with braces?
Cleaning between your teeth through flossing is important. This prevents decay and gum infections. But with braces, it is difficult to floss normally. Here are the proper steps of flossing with braces.
- First, you need to direct the floss under the archwire. This can be done in two ways. The first way is to thread the floss under the archwire directly. But this is sometimes difficult. Because if the gums are on the way, the floss will bend so you will not get it under the archwire.
The second way is by using a floss threader. This looks like a plastic needle. To use this, pass the floss through the threader. You can now use it to direct the floss under the archwire. This method is often easier.
- The second step is to move the floss up and down. Clean the first side of the teeth and under the gums. Make sure to under your gums because this is a commonplace where bacteria and food debris are trapped.
- Repeat the second step until all the sides of your teeth are flossed.
What foods to avoid with braces?
Taking care of your braces includes avoiding foods. These foods can cause issues like loosening of brackets, trapping of foods, and increase of plaque in the surfaces of teeth. Here are the foods that you need to avoid while having your braces.
- Chewy food – Jerky snacks, thick and chewy bread, fibrous meats
- Crunchy foods – chips, crackers, breadsticks
- Hard foods – Candies, nuts,
- Sticky foods – Chewing gums, caramels
- Foods that require biting into – Apples, corns, pears
- Sugary foods and beverages – Cakes, ice creams
Knowing how to brush your teeth with braces is important. This helps you avoid dangerous tartar buildup, stains, and cavities. Flossing and using an antibacterial mouthwash are essential as well.
To prevent issues, you should also avoid certain foods. Following the steps and tips in taking care of your teeth and braces will help get the best out of your braces. And in no time, you’ll get a healthy, beautiful, and straight smile.