“I’m getting braces! How do I brush my teeth with braces?” Brushing teeth with braces isn’t that much different than brushing without, but there are a few notable “how to’s” that keep teeth healthy until those braces are removed.
Flossing with Braces
“Should I still floss with my braces on?” The answer is a resounding YES! Flossing is incredibly important when you have braces (and don’t!) Flossing removes plaque and food bits that get caught between teeth and behind braces parts.
If you want to make flossing easier with braces, look for a floss threader that helps so you can get the floss between the arch wire and tooth. Flossing picks can also be helpful when trying to reach short spaces. Otherwise, traditional floss works just as well.
As you floss, be careful around the braces so there is no damage to the braces. Just like without braces, you should try to floss every time you brush (before or after brushing).
How to Brush Teeth with Braces
Brushing is a little different with braces! When brushing teeth with brushes, use these techniques to keep your smile healthy:
- Rinse before brushing to remove small food particles.
- An electric toothbrush can be incredibly useful when brushing with braces. Select a brush (manual or electric) with soft bristles.
- Avoid whitening toothpastes, which may only whiten areas of the tooth not covered by braces. Most other toothpastes are fine for brushing teeth with braces. (Follow your orthodontist’s instructions about the right toothpastes for brushing with braces.)
- Just like brushing without braces, brush for 2 minutes every time you brush. Ideally, try to brush after every meal.
- Brush at a 45-degree angle around braces with short, circular strokes. Brush one or two teeth at a time.
- Start on one side of the mouth and work your way to the other side. Use short, circular strokes as you brush.
- Make sure you brush the top and bottom of the brackets. Brush slowly.
- Brush the gum line, both top and bottom.
- Brush the front and back of the teeth.
- Double check to make sure the gum line (front, back, upper, and bottom) are brushed.
- Floss teeth, taking care to remove food particles between teeth and between teeth and arch wires.
Tips for Keeping Teeth with Braces Healthy
- Schedule biannual cleanings with the dentist (in addition to regular orthodontist appointments) to remove hard-to-reach plaque and keep teeth healthy.
- Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 months or sooner if the brush is worn down by the braces.
- If your tooth brusher with braces is a child, you may need to double check their brushing and help brush those hard-to-reach areas.
- Add a fluoridated mouthwash to your brushing teeth. A mouthwash removes many food particles left after brushing and strengthens enamel.
- If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your orthodontist with questions.