Before you know it, your braces will give you a straight, beautiful, and confident smile ‒ but for that to happen, you’ll need to devote more time and attention to your oral care while wearing them.
Braces make it easier for plaque and food particles to accumulate and can potentially cause cavities, tooth decay, or gingivitis. Poor oral hygiene can also result in long-term discoloration once the braces are removed.
If you’re wondering how to brush and floss with braces, Hoskinson Orthodontics is here to help. Based in Scotia, NY, we help orthodontic patients of all ages throughout Schenectady County and the surrounding areas take proper care of their teeth while wearing braces.
Whether you’re new to braces or have had them for some time, read on to discover how to perfect your oral hygiene regimen for the brightest and most beautiful results! If you’d like to schedule an appointment with our orthodontist, please contact us today.
Brushing with Braces
The American Dental Association recommends that people brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes with either a soft-bristled manual or electric toothbrush.
Those with braces, on the other hand, can expect to spend a couple of extra minutes brushing. Because in addition to their teeth, they also need to brush each bracket and around the wires and pins. If you’re curious about how to brush and floss with braces to prevent white spots and cavities, keep in mind: Quality brushing is key. Even patients undergoing Invisalign treatment instead of braces should devote ample time to thorough brushing.
Here’s how you can do a thorough job brushing without having to exert too much time and effort:
Rinse. First, rinse your mouth out with lukewarm water. This will help to loosen and remove dislodged food particles. Apply toothpaste to your electric or manual toothbrush.
Brush the Teeth. Once ready, position your toothbrush along the gums at a 45° angle. Move your brush in short, soft, circular strokes around the brackets and over the fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces of your teeth.
Brush the Brackets. Continuing in a gentle circular motion, brush the top and bottom of each individual bracket. Then, use an interdental brush to target the areas of the teeth under the archwire.
Overall, you should aim to spend a minimum of 30 seconds brushing each quadrant of your teeth; but again, you can expect brushing to take longer with braces.
Flossing with Braces
People with braces should strive to floss their teeth at least once per day, anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes altogether, and in front of the mirror for easier use. We’ll explore a couple different methods of flossing next.
Traditional Floss. Taking between 18 and 24 inches of waxed floss with each end wrapped around your index finger, thread the floss beneath the wire. Press the floss between the teeth, sliding the floss up and and down and underneath the gum line in a soft motion.
Floss Threader. Pass an 18-inch piece of waxed floss through your floss threader. Pass the threader beneath the wire until the floss is under, as well. Floss as normal by pressing the floss between the teeth and gently sliding it up and down the sides and underneath the gum line.
Orthodontic Flosser. Orthodontic flossers don’t require threading as seen with traditional floss. The sides of these tools are specifically designed to fit beneath the wire, allowing easy access to the teeth. Orthodontic flossers are not as readily available and cost more, but they are by far the fastest method of flossing with braces.
Flossing with braces certainly takes more time, but with the right techniques and know-how, you’ll become a pro at it and keep your teeth clean and healthy in the process.
Other Oral Hygiene Tips for Braces
Understanding how to brush and floss with braces is only the half of it. There are various ways to prevent white spots and yield the best results after your braces come off. Here’s what you can do in addition to brushing and flossing your braces and teeth:
- Rinse your mouth with fluoride rinse after brushing & flossing.
- Limit your intake of acidic foods & beverages.
- Consume more calcium-rich foods & drinks.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria before they migrate to your teeth.
- Protect your teeth & braces with mouth guards, especially if you play high-impact sports.
You can also increase your brushing and flossing game by doing it more frequently or soon after consuming sugary and sticky foods.
Understanding How to Brush & Floss with Braces
With orthodontic treatment comes a series of lifestyle changes that can seem tedious and time-consuming. Learning how to brush and floss with braces is certainly one of them ‒ but essential nonetheless. Because proper brushing and flossing while wearing braces will ultimately leave the brightest and most beautiful smile once your braces come off.
If you have questions about taking care of your teeth with braces, or if you’d like to schedule a consultation with our orthodontist, contact Hoskinson Orthodontics today. We’re located on 207 Mohawk Ave #1a in Scotia, NY, and we welcome patients of all ages throughout Schenectady County and the surrounding areas.