Tips for Cleaning Teeth with Braces

Having braces is the first step to a straight smile, but it is not the only step. Once you have braces, you have to make sure you take of your teeth while they are on them. This means brushing and flossing properly as well as following the advice of your orthodontist.

Why it’s important to brush your teeth with braces

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day (but we recommend five) is already important as it helps avoid oral problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth decalcification. You risk discolored teeth, cavities and more by not brushing properly, and adding braces to the equation does not make the task any easier.

Brush your teeth (and your braces) daily

Having braces increases the food particles and plaque that stick to your teeth. Gingivitis can form within 48 hours, which makes brushing your teeth on a daily basis extremely important to your oral health.

ARCH’s Rule of Fives:

There are 5 places to brush:

  1. Where the teeth meet the gum lines, in toward the gums
  2. Under the wire
  3. On top of the wire
  4. On top of the teeth
  5. In back of the teeth

There are 5 times during the day to brush:

  1. When you wake up
  2. After breakfast
  3. After lunch or after school
  4. After dinner
  5. Before bed. (And if you snack, after that, too!)

Spend 5 minutes brushing each time you brush.

Use the right kind of toothbrush

You’ll want to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid gum damage and wear on your teeth when brushing with braces. You may notice gum sensitivity during your orthodontic treatment, but using a softer brush will alleviate any further aggravation.

Avoid overbrushing

It’s important to brush regularly, ie. five times a day, but it is possible to brush your teeth too much. This can lead to toothbrush abrasion, which can lead to sensitive teeth and gum recession. This can also wear down the enamel on your teeth and lead to periodontal disease and cavities on the roots of your teeth. Pay attention to your brushing technique and if you are squashing the bristles, you are brushing too hard.

Floss daily

Flossing is crucial to keeping your teeth healthy. A floss threader will make flossing with braces a much easier process. Here’s how to use a floss threader:

  • Thread the floss underneath the archwire
  • Remove the threader
  • Floss each side of each tooth
  • Pull the floss out with one hand as you release the floss with the other
  • Repeat between all of your teeth
  • At the end of the day, spend an additional 5 minutes to floss and use a fluoride rinse.

Avoid whitening products while you have braces

Avoid whitening products such as whitening toothpaste or whitening mouthwash. Using these products while you have braces will result in uneven coloring when your braces come off. The whitening will only work where your braces are not covering your teeth, leaving small sections of unwhitened tooth enamel once the braces are removed.

Along with taking care of your teeth at home, it’s important to visit your orthodontist for professional cleanings and checkups. Call ARCH Orthodontics at 1-800-28-SMILE today to schedule your visit!

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