New to having braces? Our newest braces patients usually have a lot of questions about how to properly care for both their teeth and their new braces. One of the most important things to learn is how to brush your teeth with braces. It’s not that much different from brushing your teeth without braces, but there are a few important tips we’d like to share.
Step One: Choose The Right Toothbrush
Properly brushing your teeth with braces starts with choosing the right tool for the job. If you already use an electric toothbrush, it’s fine to continue—just know that your braces will likely cause the bristles to wear down a lot faster, so you’ll have to replace the heads more often.
If you choose a regular toothbrush, be sure to use one that is small and has some flexibility. You will need to brush with the bristles angled upward, and then again with the bristles angled downward to clean your teeth in behind and all around your braces. That’s in addition to the regular proper cleaning technique, so don’t miss all sides of your teeth!
You can buy special toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads that are designed specifically for people with braces. They aren’t 100% necessary, but you may want to consider giving one a try if your regular toothbrush isn’t getting the job done after you get braces.
Step Two: Brush Your Teeth (Around The Braces)
First, brush your teeth the way you normally would—although if your brushing technique needed improvement before you got braces, this is a great time to step up your game!
Brush the outside of your teeth around your entire mouth—top and bottom, on either side of the braces. It is especially important to brush the area between the brace and the gums, as this is where plaque most often accumulates. Retained plaque can cause your gums to become red and irritated, and even to bleed. This is OK—it means your gums are healing! You can even brush your gums themselves, using the same amount of pressure you use on your teeth.
Then, brush the crowns and the insides—this will be much easier as you won’t have to work around large brackets. Don’t brush too hard, or you could worsen any existing gum recession issues.
Step Three: Brush Around Your Braces
Carefully brush around (and, if possible, behind) your brackets in small circles. Be gentle, as hard brushing can damage your brackets. Spend several seconds on each bracket. This will take some time, but your efforts will pay off when your braces are removed to reveal beautiful, healthy teeth!
Step Four: Check And Rinse
Once you’ve finished brushing your teeth and braces, inspect your brackets closely to make sure there aren’t any food particles (or other debris) stuck in your braces. If there is, gently remove it with the bristles of your toothbrush. Make sure you’ve spent enough time brushing your teeth. So many people rush through brushing their teeth, but you should spend at least two full minutes brushing. An extra minute a night is much more convenient (and less uncomfortable) than spending an hour or two in your dentist’s chair getting a filling.
Finally, rinse your mouth with mouthwash and then warm water. You’re done!
Now you should have a better idea of how to brush your teeth with braces. It’s very important to keep your teeth clean when you have braces since they give plaque lots more places to hide in your mouth. You don’t want to take your braces off only to find stained teeth. If you’re still struggling with keeping your braces, you can always contact us—we’re happy to answer our patients’ questions anytime!