When you have braces, it's very important to brush and floss for healthy gums and teeth! If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and your appliance.
Brushing with Braces
Brush your teeth after every meal and right before bed with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. You can use a powered toothbrush if you like! Brush the outside and inside surfaces of your teeth using small, gentle, circular motions by following the steps below.
- Brush the gumline: Place bristles where gums and teeth meet (this is called gumline) on the inside and outside of your teeth. Start by holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently brushing along the gum line.
- Brush above the braces: Next, shift the angle of the toothbrush so that you can carefully brush the tops of your brackets using gentle, circular motions.
- Brush below the braces: Then, reposition the toothbrush to angle up so that you can brush under the brackets and wire.
- Brush the teeth: Then, brush the chewing and inner surfaces of your teeth. Be sure to clean each tooth, all the way to the back!
Flossing with Braces
Flossing twice a day will help keep your teeth and braces clean and your gums happy!
To floss with braces, use a floss threader or special orthodontic flosser to thread the floss behind the wire. Gently slide the floss between each pair of teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Floss the sides of each tooth beneath the gum line to remove plaque and food particles.
If you find that your floss is not removing all of the food particles between your teeth and around your braces, ask us about a water flosser!
White Spot Lesions
Orthodontic treatment doesn’t have many risks. For most people, braces provide a beautiful smile and a healthy bite one can enjoy for the rest of his or her life. One of the few potential problems that can occur is completely avoidable but happens much more often than it should.
We are talking about the white marks that can develop on patients’ teeth while they are undergoing orthodontic treatment. These marks are called “white spot lesions” or enamel decalcifications and are not caused by the braces themselves, but rather by sugar acids and plaque buildup!
If you practice good oral hygiene and dietary habits, you can avoid the appearance of these chalk-like spots. They are PREVENTABLE and ONLY occur when poor oral hygiene is present during orthodontic treatment. We can instruct you on proper brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing, but only you have the power to keep your teeth clean for a bright beautiful healthy smile that will last you a lifetime!
Tips to Avoid WSLs:
- Parents should help, especially for very young patients. It's important to remember that as the parent, it will be your responsibility to monitor their brushing and flossing routines and help them if needed.
- Avoid excessive sugary foods and drinks. Sugar contributes to plaque and bacteria formation on the surface of the teeth. It's ok to enjoy a treat here and there, but you should avoid consuming sugar continuously throughout the day. Always brush (or rinse with water if you can't brush right away) after enjoying sugary treats.
- Watch for bleeding or puffy gums. These can be indications that brushing and flossing aren't being done effectively enough. We'd be happy to review instructions as many times as you need us to!
- A Waterpik might be your new best friend. Waterpiks are gaining increasing popularity for good reason. They're fun for kids, and they do a great job of irrigating in hard-to-reach places!
- Feel free to ask for feedback on your brushing. We are here to help you. If you aren't sure how you're doing, let us know! We'll be happy to check and point out areas for improvement!