The reason we recommend braces is to improve your oral hygiene and give you a great smile, but brushing and flossing with braces requires some special techniques. At Lineberger Orthodontics, Dr. Matt Lineberger, Dr. Megan Lineberger, Dr. Claire Fedore and Dr. Bhaven Sayania, offer orthodontic treatments for the residents of Charlotte, Elizabeth, Huntersville and surrounding communities in North Carolina.
Why is Brushing Your Teeth with Braces Different?
Brushing and flossing is tricky enough without braces. Once you have wires, brackets and bands to work around, the task seems more like contortionism than oral hygiene. You will need to learn some new tricks when you have braces because:
- Food particles and bacteria have some new places to hide
- You must pay special attention to protect the braces from damage and breaking
What are the Best Oral Hygiene Practices with Braces?
The first time you stand in front of the mirror with braces considering how to brush and floss, you may feel like you’re about to run uphill in a mudslide. It’s OK. We’re here to help. With a few tips, you’ll be a pro at this in no time. Here are the steps.
- Don’t panic.
- Plan ahead. It may take you three times as long to brush and floss with braces.
- If you use elastic bands, wax and other removable parts, remove them and rinse them off with water.
- Use a soft-bristled brush to clean around the brackets, wires and bands. Don’t worry about the other areas of your teeth just yet.
- Brush each wire a second time working from top to bottom.
- Now, brush your teeth. Use a gentle pressure so the bristles of the toothbrush do not get caught in your braces. Be sure to brush along the gum line, the chewing surfaces and the inside of the teeth. You may want to brush your teeth twice just to make sure each area is touched by the toothbrush.
- Rinse with water and check your teeth. Slowly glide your tongue along the outer surface, chewing surface and inside surface. Be careful around the wires and brackets. If you notice any areas of your teeth feel rough or gritty, brush that area again.
Awesome! You did great! Now, onto the flossing!
- Use about 18 inches of waxed floss each time you floss.
- Thread the floss under the primary wire of your braces. You may feel as if you’re threading a needle, but with time, you’ll be able to do this with your eyes closed.
- With the floss under the main wire, pull it through your teeth as you would without braces.
- Gently move the floss up and down, from the gums to the point where it touches the wire.
Focus your flossing at the gum line if you have problems with covering the entire side of the teeth. The gums are especially vulnerable to bacteria.
What If I Have Trouble Brushing and Flossing with Braces?
If you have trouble brushing and flossing with your braces, give us a call. We may describe some techniques to use, or we may have you come in for a quick demonstration.
How Do I Brush and Floss with Invisalign®?
With Invisalign®, you simply remove the aligner and brush and floss as you normally do.
After going through the process of having braces, you want to have teeth that are beautiful and healthy. Good oral hygiene is the best way to do this. Lineberger Orthodontics offers orthodontic treatments for the residents of Charlotte, Elizabeth, Huntersville and surrounding communities in North Carolina. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.