Brushing and Flossing with Braces

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Brushing and Flossing with Braces

Brushing and floss braces remain an important part of any dental treatment. Braces straighten your teeth, improve your bite and allow you to have a straight, healthy smile. But keeping your mouth clean with brackets and wires of braces applied to your teeth can be tricky. With a few tips, however, you can keep your teeth clean while they are being straightened.

How to Brush Teeth with Braces

In many ways, brushing your teeth with braces is similar to brushing your teeth without braces. Some basic tips to avoid tooth brushing mistakes are:

  • Choose the right sized toothbrush. If the toothbrush feels too big for your mouth, use a toothbrush with a smaller head.
  • Choose an electric toothbrush if you have arthritis or upper body joint or movement issues.
  • Soft brushes work just as well as hard bristled brushes. Soft bristles also prevent gum injuries and damage to braces.
  • Be sure to allow at least two minutes to brush your teeth thoroughly.
  • Don’t over brush your teeth or brush your teeth too hard. Both actions can cause tooth enamel damage.
  • Brushing should be done with an up and down motion to protect your tooth enamel.
  • Start in a different part of your mouth each time you brush.
  • Be sure you clean all the surfaces of your teeth, including the backs and sides of your molars.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste. Extra whitening and tartar control ingredients are not needed and may cause damage to your tooth enamel.
  • For best brushing results, get a new toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles of the brush start showing signs of wear.

Some special instructions apply when brushing with braces, however. To brush your teeth well while wearing braces, first, apply a small amount of toothpaste to a dry brush. Brush your upper teeth in the area where the gums and teeth meet. Be sure to brush every tooth, taking extra care to brush your back teeth well. Use vibrating, circular motions for at least 10 seconds on the gum lines of each tooth. Then, be sure to brush your teeth from the gum line down. Next, brush the tooth arches of each tooth from behind. Brush the backs of your teeth from the gum line down to prevent wear and tear on the tooth enamel. Take your time and brush every tooth slowly to ensure a thorough cleaning.

Brush your bottom teeth next. Make sure you brush the arches on the back of your lower teeth with an upward motion. Brush the lower teeth from the gums up. Make sure to brush the molars in the back of your mouth completely to avoid leaving debris in the back of your mouth.

Brushing with braces is an important part of keeping your teeth clean and cavity free while having your teeth straightened. Brush your teeth following every meal to ensure cavity-free, white teeth even after your braces are removed. Brushing with braces may take a bit more time than brushing your natural teeth, but the results will be well worth the effort.

Flossing with Braces

To floss with braces, you will need to insert the floss in between the wires and your teeth. You should floss the area around your teeth as gums, just as you would floss your teeth without braces. Wearing braces add the challenge of flossing around the wires and brackets of the braces to remove debris. Some tools may help you floss your teeth and braces easier, such as:

  • Unwaxed floss.
  • A floss threader.
  • A mirror to watch yourself as you floss.

Flossing with Braces

When you floss, use about 18 inches of floss. Once you have threaded the floss under a section of the braces, gently work the floss between the teeth. Curving the floss will help you get all of the surfaces of each tooth. The next steps of flossing your braces include:

  • Hold the floss on each end with the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Or use your thumbs to floss the bottom or back teeth.
  • First, clean the area around the wires and each brace of the tooth.
  • Next, floss the tooth itself. Work the floss up and down.
  • Gently move the floss around and in between each tooth.
  • Floss the area around and just below the line of the gums. Move the floss in an up and down motion
  • Be sure to floss every available surface.
  • Be extra gentle when you floss around the gum area.
  • Floss each tooth in a similar manner.
  • If your floss becomes frayed, get a new section of floss and continue flossing.
  • Pay extra attention when you floss the teeth in the back of your mouth, where the plaque is more likely to accumulate.

Take the time to take clean your teeth and gums while you have your teeth straightened. The result will be a beautiful, happy smile.