Brush Your Teeth with Braces
Whether your braces are on for 6 months or 2 years, it’s important to develop proper brushing habits right away. Braces provide far more nooks and crannies in your mouth for food and plaque to hide in, making proper brushing technique, frequency, and toothpaste crucial.
We spoke to Dr. Thomas Redd, DDS, a Delta Dental orthodontist for recommendations on how to best brush your teeth with braces.
What Toothpaste Should I Use with Braces?
“I recommend a toothpaste with fluoride. If someone is at high risk for cavities, we may prescribe a fluoride gel or rinse (such as Prevident, MI Paste or a fluoride rinse) for use after brushing.
It’s always best to consult with your dentist or orthodontist on what is best for your mouth.
Manual Toothbrush or Electric Toothbrush with Braces?
Dr. Redd’s advice for most is to “use the brush that works best for you.” With that said, some electric toothbrushes have an advantage over manual toothbrushes, including a timer and special brush attachments made for braces. The best toothbrush is the one you use regularly and consistently.
How Do You Brush Your Teeth with Braces?
To start brushing, angle your toothbrush at 45-degrees. Point it between the gum line and the bracket. Dr. Redd says, “this is where the problems usually start.”
Follow this by angling the toothbrush up to reach the underside of the braces. Go slowly, making sure to brush each tooth at the gum line, above each bracket, and below.
Next, use your small proxy brush to reach areas your toothbrush may have missed. A proxy brush is a tiny brush designed for cleaning areas between your teeth and wires.
Don't forget to floss! It's easier to floss with braces when you have a floss threader. This device helps get the floss into the proper position between your teeth and in your braces. It also reaches under the gums. "There are other special devices to help with flossing," says Dr. Redd. "But, anything that makes flossing easier is more likely to get someone to floss.”
Brushing after every meal is ideal, but it might not always be possible. If you can’t reach for a toothbrush and some paste, swish some water around your mouth to remove any food particles.
Final Tips on Braces from Dr. Thomas Redd
If you don't keep your teeth clean, you'll see damage under the braces from lack of care. Because patients with braces see the orthodontist every month, another misconception is they don't need a dentist. They may actually need to see the dentist more because it's harder to things clean with appliances.
Patients can coordinate their cleaning with their orthodontist. That way, the orthodontist can remove arch wires. Then, the dentist or hygienist can clean, monitor for cavities, and give personal hygiene instructions.”
Learn more about caring for your braces:
• Get Braces Off Faster: 3 Tips for Parents
• Can Your Gums Grow Over Your Braces