So you finally have your braces. What an exciting time! In just a year or two, you’ll have the beautiful smile you’ve been dreaming of — but there are a few steps you need to take to ensure your teeth are straight and white the day we take your braces off.
One of the most important things you’ll learn to do is brush your teeth with braces. Although there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to keeping your teeth nice and clean during treatment, McGrory Orthodontics has the top four tips for brushing with braces that will make it a breeze.
#1 – Follow these steps
There are several steps to brushing your teeth with braces that are slightly different from regular brushing. You’ll want to follow this McGrory Orthodontics-approved process to get your teeth in top shape so that you’ll see a bright white smile when we take your braces off.
Step one: rinse your mouth with water to remove leftover food particles – yuck!
Step two: This step is all about the angles. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to brush both the exposed parts of your teeth, the brackets, and your gumline. You’ll need to spend about five seconds brushing each tooth or 30 seconds on each section of your mouth. That adds up to about two to three minutes of brushing time, in total. Make sure you don’t cut corners!
Step three: Don’t forget to brush your tongue! It is essential to brush your entire mouth to get rid of bacteria that cause plaque buildup and bad breath.
#2 – Flossing is key
You’re probably a pro at flossing your teeth without braces, but when it comes to brushing with them? There will be a learning curve. Dr. McGrory and Dr. McCarty recommend you follow these steps to ensure no leftover plaque lingers in your mouth!
Step one: Thread the dental floss through the eye of the floss threader. Then, push the head of the floss threader over or under the wire and between your teeth.
Step two: Remove the threader and lay it to the side. Floss each side of your tooth in a back-and-forth motion like you normally would without braces.
Step three: Pick up your floss threader and repeat this step by moving to the next tooth!
Be sure you don’t skip this step. It is vital to the quality of your smile that you keep up with flossing throughout your treatment. The person in the mirror on the day your braces come off will thank you for it!
#3 – Re-brush after every meal
Usually, dentists recommend brushing your teeth once in the morning and at night for the best smile possible. When it comes to brushing your teeth with braces, however, you need to brush a little more often.
Dr. McGrory and Dr. McCarty advise their patients to brush their teeth after every meal to protect their oral health. That is because braces add a lot of surface area to your mouth, which means more hiding places for bacteria to settle into. After a while, that hidden bacteria causes plaque buildup, which could lead to discoloration at best and gum disease at worst.
By brushing after every meal, you can significantly cut down the possibility of bacteria buildup. The result? A clean, white smile at the end of this orthodontic journey.
#4 – Use the right tools
When Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty first applies your braces, they won’t send you home empty-handed! That first day with your new set of wires, we’ll give you a home care kit filled with tools that will help you take care of your teeth from that day forward. This kit includes a floss threader, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and a proxabrush. Each tool plays a unique role in your oral health to clean those hard-to-reach places and be sure you’ll have a pearly white smile in no time.
Floss threader – like a needle, this tool helps you maneuver around the wires in your mouth to floss between your teeth without a hitch.
Toothbrush – our team recommends a soft-bristled toothbrush to capably clean your teeth without harming the brackets. The soft bristles are better able to reach down between each bracket, making it easier to clean these tough-to-reach spaces.
Proxabrush – this tool looks almost like a pipe cleaner, and it works practically the same! The Proxabrush allows you to clean the spaces between brackets or wires that your toothbrush just can’t reach.
Not only does this kit help give you a headstart toward caring for your teeth with braces, but it also teaches you which tools you’ll need throughout the time you’ll be wearing them so you can replace them as needed. If you have any questions about the contents of your home care kit, don’t hesitate to call McGrory Orthodontics – our team always has your back!