Knowing how to brush your teeth with braces is essential for optimum oral health during orthodontic treatment. Proper oral hygiene is always important for everyone to maintain healthy teeth and gums. However, we know it becomes challenging for patients who wear braces.
Having braces means making extra effort to avoid dental cavities and gum inflammation. Your orthodontic brackets and wires trap food easily, meaning you have a higher risk of plaque buildup, inflammation, and list of other dental problems.
So today, Lasry Dental Clinic is going to walk you through the proper ways to brush your teeth. That way, when it’s finally time for those braces to come off, you’ll have straight teeth and pearly whites!
RELATED:FOOD THAT IS BAD FOR YOUR TEETH
Effects of Not Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
Food that accumulates around the braces leads to forming the number one enemy of oral health: dental plaque.
This thin layer of debris contains harmful bacteria, is sticky, and it easily adheres to your teeth’s surfaces. Failing to remove plaque leads to dental cavities or gum infections.
Both cavities and gum infections have long-term consequences after the removal of your braces. With dental cavities, the plaque permanently destroys the enamel. And that destroyed enamel may require a dental filling. All dental fillings need replacing periodically, meaning more dental treatment in the future.
Gum infections caused by poor oral hygiene while wearing braces can lead to gum disease, and its effects, including:
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Periodontal treatment, including gum surgery
- Bad breath
- Tooth loss
Regular and proper toothbrushing is important throughout your life but it is especially necessary while you wear braces. To ignore brushing your teeth with braces is a recipe for disaster that affects your oral health for your entire life.
RELATED: FOODS THAT ARE GOOD FOR YOUR TEETH
Step-By-Step Guide on How To Brush Your Teeth with Braces
Not only should you make regular toothbrushing a habit, but you need to know the proper technique! Incorporate these steps into your brushing routine:
Step 1: Get The Angles
Using a circular motion, move your toothbrush in a circular motion around your braces. You need to turn the toothbrush in 3 different positions to dislodge all food from your braces and ensure clean teeth.
Spend 30 seconds in each of these positions:
- Top of the braces. Start with the top of the braces. Angle the toothbrush bristles 45 degrees downward, and use just enough pressure to get the tips of the bristles under the wire. Then, brush from one side to the other several times before moving to the next angle.
- Bottom of the braces. Next, brush underneath the braces. Angle the toothbrush bristles 45 degrees upward, use just enough pressure to get the tips of the bristles under the wire, and brush from one side to the other several times before moving to the next angle.
- Front of the braces. Brush directly on top of the wire using a gentle circular motion and repeat this motion several times.
Step 2: Gently brush the gum line
The gum line is where your teeth and gums meet. This is a particularly critical area because it is easy for plaque to build up and cause gum disease.
Gum disease can cause the gums to recede and change the appearance of your teeth. You should angle the toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle to the gum line so the bristles reach just below the gumline. Use a very gentle circular motion and move around your mouth to clean each tooth.
Step 3: Thoroughly brush the chewing surfaces and backs of your teeth
Don’t forget these two critical areas!
Deep grooves and pits cover the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. These tiny areas easily trap food particles, plaque, and bacteria. Hold the bristles flat against the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. Use a gentle scrubbing motion to remove all debris from the grooves and pits.
The final surface to clean is the back of your teeth. It is easy to neglect this surface, but plaque accumulates easily here. Place the bristles at a 45-degree angle to the gums and gently move the brush back and forth to clean the entire back surface of each tooth.
Remember to brush at least 2-3 minutes each time you brush your teeth to make sure every surface is clean. So if you need a specific timeframe, brush your teeth like this:
- 90 seconds for Step 1
- 30 seconds for Step 2
- 30-60 seconds for Step 3
You need to brush at least three times daily or after every meal. And don’t forget to floss! These dental floss picks come in handy when you have braces.
The Best Toothbrush for Braces
Oral hygiene while wearing braces requires more time and diligence to keep your teeth and gums healthy. The improvements in toothbrushes enhance your ability to stay free of oral disease while straightening your teeth. You may choose either an electric toothbrush for braces or a manual toothbrush to maintain optimal oral hygiene.
The popularity of electric toothbrushes continues to grow due to advances in technology, including Bluetooth and ultrasonics. Some people still prefer the less expensive manual toothbrush, which can adequately clean their teeth while wearing braces.
When choosing a manual toothbrush, keep these considerations in mind:
- A small brush head makes reaching all areas of your mouth easier.
- Round-end bristles protect oral tissues from damage.
- Soft bristles cause less irritation and harm to your gums.
Research shows that electric toothbrushes affect oral health positively and can add a fun element to toothbrushing. Some electric toothbrush manufacturers make brush heads designed for use with braces. There are several types of electric toothbrushes that differ, primarily in how the brush head and bristles operate.
- Rotating brush heads
- Oscillating brush heads
- Pulsating brush heads
- Rotating/Oscillating/ Pulsating brush heads. Oral B combines all three technologies in one electric toothbrush.
- Oscillating Sonic brush heads. This is a popular technology from Philips Sonicare.
- An electric toothbrush and water flosser combo. This combination brought by WaterPik combines two effective means of cleaning teeth around braces.
RELATED: ROOT CANAL PROCEDURE: WHAT TO EXPECT
How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces FAQ’S
Is it hard to brush your teeth with braces?
Toothbrushing does not differ too much with braces. It requires slightly more time and effort since you need to clean under the wire and around the brackets.
How many times a day should I brush my teeth with braces?
Brush three times each day. Make sure to brush just before going to bed.
Do I have to brush my teeth every time I eat with braces? Y
es. Rinse with water after eating and wait 30 minutes before brushing.
How do I floss my teeth with braces?
The areas between your teeth require cleaning while wearing braces. To help with this, consider using:
- Waxed floss
- Orthodontic flossers
- Floss threaders
- Water flosser
Toothbrushing is an essential part of maintaining oral health while wearing braces. Using the correct brushing technique, choosing the most effective toothbrush, and brushing often can keep teeth and gums healthy during this time.