Keeping your teeth clean while wearing braces is very important and can be a bit challenging at first. Braces tend to trap food and plaque onto the tooth surface, increasing your risk of developing “white spots” (enamel decalcification), cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Good brushing habits and regular visits to your general dentist will help you avoid these problems. Of course, flossing is important too. (We will cover flossing in a future blog post, so stay tuned!)
Ideally, you should brush your teeth with a fluoride-containing toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush after every meal.
Divide your mouth into four areas, or quadrants; upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. Spend at least 30 seconds in each quadrant to ensure you give every corner of your mouth adequate attention.
First, start with your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle along the gum line. This means aim the bristles toward the braces coming from the gums, and brush in a side-to-side motion. This will help free any food that has been trapped by your braces.
Next, brush straight onto the braces.
Then, brush along the occlusal, biting, surface of your teeth.
Finally, brush along the tongue side of your teeth.
Repeat these steps for each quadrant in your mouth. When done properly, this will take at least 2 minutes.
You aren’t quite finished! Do a visual check of your teeth. Do you see food or plaque on your teeth or stuck in the braces? Brush these areas again to remove the remaining debris. Now you are ready to floss!
Here are a few more tips:
Keep a travel-size toothbrush in your purse or backpack so that you can easily brush at school, work, and on-the-go.
Both standard and electric toothbrushes can be used to effectively clean your teeth, so use whichever kind you prefer. The key is to brush thoroughly.
Young children in braces frequently need their parents to help them with brushing and flossing.
Bleeding gums is a sign of gingivitis and indicates that the gums are inflamed. Good oral hygiene will prevent you getting sore, bleeding gums.
Your orthodontist may recommend that you see a general dentist for professional cleanings more frequently while in braces.
Happy Brushing 🙂