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Smile Bright: 7 Essential Tips for Brushing with Braces

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Dental Braces, Orthodontic Treatments | 0 comments

9 min reading time

So you’ve got braces – you’re on the path to a stellar smile! But brushing can feel like a whole new adventure with all those brackets and wires. 

But worry not – with the right techniques and tools, you can keep your teeth sparkling clean and ensure your orthodontic journey is smooth and successful! 

We have 7 essential tips to ensure your teeth stay sparkling clean and your braces journey goes smoothly. Let’s get brushing!

Use the Right Toothbrush

Brushing your teeth with braces requires the right tools to ensure effective cleaning and protection against tooth decay and gum disease. The right toothbrush can make all the difference in keeping your braces clean and your teeth healthy. 

Using a toothbrush specifically designed for braces, such as one with a small brush head and soft bristles, allows you to navigate brackets and wires easily. These toothbrushes help remove plaque buildup and lingering food particles that can get trapped in your braces.

Choosing the Best Toothbrush for Braces
Choosing the Best Toothbrush for Braces

Selecting the best toothbrush for your braces involves considering several factors to ensure you effectively clean all the surfaces of your teeth and braces. 

An electric toothbrush with a small, round brush head can be particularly beneficial as it can reach around brackets and wires more easily. Look for one with soft bristles to avoid damaging your braces or irritating your gums. Here are some excellent options to choose from:

  • Oral-B iO Series: This electric toothbrush features a small, round brush head and gentle vibrations, making it an excellent choice for cleaning around braces, brackets, and wires. Its smart pressure sensor ensures you apply the correct pressure, protecting your gums and braces.
  • Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100: This toothbrush is known for its gentle yet effective cleaning. Its tiny brush head and soft bristles make it ideal for those wearing braces. The toothbrush also includes a pressure sensor and multiple brushing modes to suit your oral hygiene needs.
  • Waterpik Sensonic Professional Plus: This electric toothbrush combines high-speed bristle motion with a small brush head, making it practical for reaching tight spaces around braces. It’s designed to remove plaque and improve gum health.
  • Colgate Hum: This smart electric toothbrush offers real-time feedback on your brushing technique. Its compact brush head is perfect for navigating around braces, and its soft bristles ensure a gentle yet thorough clean.
  • Quip Electric Toothbrush: Featuring a sleek design with soft bristles and a small brush head, the Quip electric toothbrush is great for maintaining oral hygiene with braces. It’s also travel-friendly, making it convenient for on-the-go use.

How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush?

When wearing braces, changing your toothbrush more frequently than usual is crucial to maintain optimal oral hygiene. Dental professionals recommend replacing your toothbrush or head every three months or sooner if the bristles become frayed or worn out. 

Brackets and wires cause the bristles to wear out faster, reducing the toothbrush’s effectiveness in properly cleaning your teeth and braces. If you’ve been sick, replacing your toothbrush to prevent reintroducing bacteria into your mouth is a good idea. 

Master the Correct Brushing Technique

Brushing your teeth with braces requires special attention to ensure that your teeth and braces are adequately cleaned. Use fluoride toothpaste when brushing to strengthen tooth enamel and protect against decay.

The correct brushing technique helps prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and plaque buildup, keeping your smile healthy and bright throughout your orthodontic treatment.

3 Effective Brushing Techniques for Braces

  1. 45-Degree Angle Brushing: Holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line ensures you clean both the teeth and the gums, preventing gum disease and plaque accumulation.
  2. Circular Motion Technique: Use gentle, circular motions to brush your teeth and braces. This technique helps clean all surfaces without causing damage to your braces or gums.
  3. Gentle Brushing Pressure: Use gentle pressure when brushing your teeth with braces. Too much pressure can damage the braces, brackets, and wires and irritate your gums. Brushing with gentle pressure ensures effective cleaning without causing harm.

4 Benefits of Interdental Brushes for Braces
4 Benefits of Interdental Brushes for Braces

  1. Effective Plaque Removal: Interdental brushes clean between teeth and around braces brackets, effectively removing plaque that regular toothbrushes might miss. This helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
  2. Easier Access to Hard-to-Reach Areas: These brushes can reach areas that are difficult to clean with a regular toothbrush, such as around the primary wire and between the brackets, ensuring comprehensive cleaning.
  3. Reduces Risk of Gum Disease: Interdental brushes help reduce the risk of gum inflammation and disease by cleaning the gum line and between teeth thoroughly, keeping your gums healthy while wearing braces.
  4. Convenient and Portable: Interdental brushes are small and portable, making them convenient anytime, especially after meals. This helps maintain oral hygiene throughout the day, preventing food particles from causing bad breath and plaque buildup.

Don’t Forget to Floss

Flossing is crucial to maintaining oral hygiene, especially when wearing braces. A floss threader or water flosser can remove debris between teeth and areas that brushing alone can’t reach along the main wire. 

Water Flossing for Improved Results

Using a water flosser can significantly enhance your flossing routine while wearing braces. Water flossers use water to remove debris and plaque from between teeth and around braces brackets. 

This method is particularly effective for reaching areas that traditional floss or floss threaders might miss. The pressure of the water can clean around the gum line and between the brace wires without causing damage or discomfort.

Incorporating a water flosser into your daily oral hygiene routine can help keep your teeth clean and reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

Rinse with an Antibacterial Mouthwash

Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash is essential in maintaining oral hygiene while wearing braces. 

Rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing and flossing, ensuring that the mouthwash reaches all the surfaces of your teeth and braces. 

Regular use of antibacterial mouthwash helps keep teeth and gums healthy, supporting your oral hygiene routine. 

How Mouthwash Helps Keep Braces Clean
How Mouthwash Helps Keep Braces Clean

Using mouthwash as part of your oral hygiene routine while wearing braces offers numerous benefits, helping to keep your braces clean and your mouth healthy. 

  • Reduces Plaque Buildup: Antibacterial mouthwash helps reduce plaque buildup around braces, brackets, and wires. Plaque can accumulate quickly in these areas, leading to tooth decay and gum disease if not properly managed. Mouthwash targets bacteria that contribute to plaque formation, helping to keep your braces clean.
  • Reaches Hard-to-Clean Areas: Brushing and flossing alone may only reach some of the surfaces around your braces. Mouthwash can flow into tight spaces and crevices, removing lingering food particles and bacteria that can cause bad breath and dental issues. 
  • Strengthens Tooth Enamel: Fluoride mouthwash can strengthen tooth enamel, making your teeth more resistant to decay. This is especially important when wearing braces, as brackets and wires can create additional nooks where food particles and bacteria can hide.
  • Prevents Gum Disease: Gum disease is a common concern for those wearing braces, as it’s easier for food particles and plaque to get trapped along the gum line. 
  • Maintains Fresh Breath: Regular use of mouthwash helps maintain fresh breath by eliminating these particles and neutralizing odors.

Be Mindful of What You Eat

Certain foods can damage your braces, increase the risk of tooth decay, and make it challenging to keep your teeth clean. 

Adopting a braces-friendly diet will help you avoid complications and keep your treatment on track.

6 Foods to Avoid with Braces
6 Foods to Avoid with Braces

  1. Sticky and Chewy Foods: Avoid caramel, taffy, and gummy candies. These can stick to braces, brackets, and wires, making it difficult to remove them and increasing the risk of tooth decay and plaque buildup.
  2. Hard and Crunchy Snacks: Nuts, hard candies, and popcorn can break or dislodge braces, brackets, and wires. They also often get stuck in your braces.
  3. Sugary Treats: Consuming sugary snacks and drinks like soda, cake, and cookies can contribute to tooth decay. The sugar interacts with plaque to produce acids that erode tooth enamel.
  4. Chewy Bread and Pizza Crusts: Foods like bagels and pizza crusts can be challenging to chew and might damage your braces. They also tend to stick to teeth and braces.
  5. Raw Vegetables and Hard Fruits: Raw carrots, apples, and other hard fruits and vegetables can break braces, brackets, and wires. Instead, cut these foods into smaller pieces or cook them to make them softer and easier to eat.
  6. Ice and Frozen Foods: Chewing on ice or frozen foods can easily damage your braces. They can also cause discomfort and increase the risk of damaging your tooth enamel.

Consider Professional Dental Cleanings

Professional dental cleanings are essential in keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Dental professionals have the tools and expertise to thoroughly clean your teeth and braces, removing plaque buildup and food particles that regular brushing and flossing might miss.

When to Get a Professional Dental Cleaning
When to Get a Professional Dental Cleaning

A professional dental cleaning every six months is recommended, but your dental professional might suggest more frequent visits depending on your specific needs. Here’s when you should consider scheduling a professional cleaning:

  1. After Starting Orthodontic Work: It’s a good idea to schedule a professional cleaning after getting braces. This initial cleaning can help remove any plaque or tartar buildup that might have accumulated after your braces were put on.
  2. Signs of Gum Disease: Schedule a dental cleaning if you notice symptoms such as swollen, bleeding gums or persistent bad breath. 
  3. Increased Plaque Buildup: If you find it challenging to keep your teeth and braces clean, especially with significant plaque buildup, a professional cleaning can help remove stubborn deposits.

Stay Patient and Consistent

Wearing braces is a significant step towards achieving a beautiful, healthy smile, but it requires patience and consistency. 

Adjusting braces can be challenging, but maintaining a diligent oral hygiene routine will make it easier. Regular checkups with your dental professional will ensure that your teeth are correctly cared for and that any issues are addressed. 

Regular checkups with your dentist will help ensure you’re brushing your teeth properly and keeping your braces clean.

Encourage younger children to follow these steps, as developing good oral hygiene habits early on will benefit them throughout their orthodontic treatment.

By staying consistent with this routine, you can effectively manage plaque buildup and maintain excellent oral hygiene while wearing braces.

Take the First Step to a Brighter Smile in Hollywood, MD, with Patuxent Orthodontics!

Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if orthodontic care is the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of orthodontic care or have questions about the process, use our live chat, call (240) 802-7217, or message us through our Contact Us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a complimentary consultation!

Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s Patuxent area, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. 

So, if you’re residing in Hollywood, Wildewood, or Leonardtown and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Maryland, don’t hesitate to visit our office!

We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining your perfect smile, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!