Eating can be a little bit tricky when you have braces, and even healthy foods can be bad news for your teeth if those foods gets caught in braces and causes tooth decay. The good news is that knowing how to brush your teeth with braces can help prevent any of those tasty foods from causing problems down the line. Use these tips to keep your braces clean so your teeth are in great shape when you sit down for your next preventative check up.
Choose the Right Toothbrush
Picking out the right toothbrush is important for any child. For children with braces, there are special toothbrushes that will make it easier to reach all of the nooks and crannies created by metal braces.
Interdental toothbrushes are special toothbrushes that are designed to fit in between the teeth. These type of toothbrushes are recommended for children learning how to brush their teeth with braces since they fit more easily around braces than regular toothbrushes.
Electric toothbrushes can be more difficult to maneuver when brushing with braces due to the wires. The bristles also tend to wear tend more quickly than manual toothbrushes, so it’s best to stick with manual toothbrushes.
If you opt for a regular, non-interdental toothbrush, you’ll have to brush with the bristles angled up and down to make sure they’re reaching the spaces around the brackets and wires.
Steps for Proper Brushing
Brushing your teeth with braces is fairly similar process to regular tooth brushing. However, children with braces need to take extra care to clean around the wires and brackets. Follow these steps for how to brush your teeth with braces:
- Before brushing, rinse your mouth out with water to remove any food particles from your mouth.
- Brush the outer side of your teeth first. Bite your teeth together and move your toothbrush back and forth while gradually running it along your top and bottom rows of teeth. Brush the braces using small circles.
- Brush the inner side of your teeth by moving the toothbrush back and forth and in circular motions against your top and bottom teeth.
- Brush the crowns of your teeth by holding your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle from your teeth and brushing back and forth.
- Be sure to brush thoroughly for two to three minutes.
- Stick out your tongue and brush your tongue to remove bacteria.
Since food is more likely to get stuck in your teeth if you wear braces, orthodontists recommend that you brush your teeth after every meal. If you’re unable to brush, drink plenty of water and try swishing some in your mouth to dislodge any sugar and food particles.
When you brush your teeth, opt for a fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent tooth decay, so choosing a fluoridated toothpaste will give you an extra level of protection against cavities.
Steps for Proper Flossing
Like learning how to brush teeth with braces, learning how to floss with braces is just a matter of accommodating the wires and brackets. Flossing while wearing metal braces can be challenging, but it’s important for maintaining your oral health and making sure no food residue is left behind. Try using floss threader to help. A floss threader looks like a large plastic needle. To use it, follow these steps:
- Thread the floss under the archwire.
- Remove the threader.
- Wiggle the floss into the space between each tooth.
- Curve the floss into a sort of C shape rather than keeping it in a straight line in order to ensure that all plaque is removed.
- Pull the floss out of the space with one hand, and release the floss with the other.
- Repeat this method for the space between each tooth.
If flossing with regular floss seems too difficult with braces, you may opt for floss picks or a water flosser. A water flosser is a device that uses a water jet like floss to remove food from between the teeth. Many patients with braces find these options easier to maneuver.
Use a Mouth Rinse
After brushing and flossing, using a mouth rinse is a final step that can help keep your mouth at its healthiest.
If you opt for mouthwash, look for a brand that specifically states that it protects against gingivitis. You may also want to go for an option that contains fluoride since it will provide added protection against cavities.
You can also talk to your child’s orthodontist about an antiseptic mouth rinse. Hydrogen peroxide mouth rinses can be beneficial for children experiencing mouth sores or irritation as a result of their braces. These mouth rinses reduce inflammation in the gums and cheeks, help prevent infection, decrease irritation, and help the mouth health.
Avoid Whitening Products
One product that you should not incorporate into your oral care routine when you have braces is whitening products. While avoiding whitening strips might seem obvious, you also need to avoid whitening toothpastes and whitening mouthwashes.
Whitening products only work on places that they touch. If you use them while you’re wearing braces, you risk creating uneven color lines where your brackets and wires are, which makes for an unpleasant surprise when the braces are removed.
Knowing how to brush teeth with braces and keeping good daily oral habits are important parts of braces care. However, they’re not the only things that you need to do to keep your teeth healthy while you wear braces. Making regular orthodontist appointments is necessary to make sure that your teeth are being cared for properly. The orthodontists at Children’s Dentistry are happy to teach children how to brush teeth with braces to help keep their teeth in their best shape. Contact us at any of our locations to schedule an appointment today.