Braces can be awkward, especially when it comes to brushing.
How do you do it? Should you worry about the section of teeth under the brackets? Are there things you shouldn’t do while brushing with braces?Creative Commons
Can You Brush Your Teeth With Braces?
Simply put, yes. You can definitely brush your teeth with braces. And you definitely should.
To think that you can wear braces for anywhere from several months to several years is ludicrous. You still have to take care of your teeth, gums, and your whole mouth. If you don’t, it could lead to a plethora of problems that you don’t want to live with — pain, swelling, and other issues that require some sort of procedure.
And if you’re a parent with a child who has braces, make sure they know the importance of teeth brushing.
How To Brush Teeth With Braces?
It’s not enough to just know that you need to brush with braces, you also need to know how to properly brush.
Start With Basics
When brushing with braces (or without), remember the acronym KISS: Keep It Super Simple. Just the basics.
The rule of thumb is to brush after every meal, but at least twice a day, morning and evening. When you brush, make sure you brush gently. You don’t want to overdo it, especially for the sake of your braces.
Plan for each brushing session to take longer than normal — you’ll have to spend some time brushing behind the wires, getting food particles out, and getting every nook and cranny.
Here are some tips on how to use the best brushing technique:
- First, rinse your mouth with water to loosen any food debris
- Rinse your toothbrush to get any food particles or gunk off of it
- When brushing, make sure the toothbrush is at a 45-degree angle
- Using short strokes, move the brush back and forth across your teeth
- Brush between the wires and over every surface
- Brush your tongue last
Choose The Right Toothbrush
When you have braces, you can’t just use any old toothbrush. You’ll want to choose the right toothbrush.
In order to be gentle on the braces and to help prevent gum disease, you should choose a soft-bristled brush. It can be a regular toothbrush, you can choose from the best electric toothbrushes, or even an interdental brush, which allows you to go in between braces and teeth.
Whatever the case, it should have soft bristles.
Remember About Flossing
It’s easy to forget about flossing. But with braces, it’s even more important to floss every day.
When flossing with braces, you’ll need to thread the floss underneath the wire in between the teeth. You could also consider getting a water flosser, which shoots out a stream of water with enough pressure to clean off bacteria and loosen food debris.
Braces are like food catchers. And flossing is what frees that food.
Avoid Whitening Products
Usually, whitening products are a great way to improve your smile. But when you have braces, you should steer clear of them. This includes whitening toothpaste, whitening trays, and even activated charcoal products.
Here’s why: any whitening product you use will whiten only the parts of the teeth it touches. And with braces, the whitening agent can’t get under the brackets, which are cemented to your teeth.
For the sake of your smile, don’t use whitening products while wearing braces.
Try Fluoride Rinse
Fluoride is a fantastic element — it’s even in our water supply.
It strengthens the enamel of your teeth and helps keep them from decaying or getting damaged. That’s why you may want to consider rinsing with fluoride. This is something you can buy over-the-counter at your local pharmacy or drug store.
Simply follow the instructions on the bottle and you’ll be golden.
Get Professional Cleaning
Lastly, getting a professional to clean your teeth is paramount to the success of your braces.
Just as you should get regular cleanings without braces, you should do so after you get braces. Dentists and dental hygienists are trained to clean teeth with braces.
Do you want the best results from your braces? Then get a professional dental cleaning.
Effects Of Not Brushing Teeth With Braces
The effects of not taking care of your teeth, especially with braces, are somewhat scary.
The first serious thing that could happen is gingivitis. Gingivitis is essentially an early stage of gum disease and occurs when there’s an untreated buildup of plaque. The symptoms of it include bleeding and swollen gums and it’s usually not painful.
Another downside of not brushing your teeth while wearing braces is periodontitis. Periodontitis is what happens if you don’t take care of gingivitis. The gums begin to pull away from the teeth and form gaps between the teeth. When that happens, it provides more area for plaque to build up.
The last serious problem we’ll talk about is decalcifications (aka “white spots”). These are actually permanent stains — lines and spots — around the braces. And they will be on your teeth forever. Hence, the importance of following the recommended brushing and flossing methods and frequencies.
- You can brush your teeth while wearing braces. It’s actually super important.
- The best things to do when caring from your teeth with braces are to brush 2-3 times a day, floss every day, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, don’t use whitening products, rinse with fluoride, and get regular professional cleanings.
- The main problems that can occur if you don’t brush your teeth — especially when you have braces — are gingivitis, periodontitis, and decalcifications.