4 Tips for Brushing and Flossing With Braces

Braces Carmel IN Orthodontists

Taking care of your teeth has always been important, butbracesare involved, your smile requires extra attention. Wires and brackets are great at straightening teeth, but they can trap food particles and plaque. Fortunately, our Carmel, IN, orthodontists have experience helping patients properly brush and floss throughout their orthodontic treatment.

Here are 4 tips that will make your oral hygiene routine with braces easier and more efficient at removing built-up plaque.

Braces Type Can Influence Care Approach

Before you reach for that toothbrush or floss, consider what type of braces you have first. Traditional metal braces or ceramic braces can be cleaned in a fairly standard way. However, hidden options like InBrace® are a bit trickier and may take additional practice to clean.

Application of braces aside, this doesn’t mean oral hygiene is impossible. It just isn’t as quick as it was without braces. Dedicating time each day to cleaning your teeth in and around the braces will prevent the formation of cavities and keep your smile healthy as teeth are moved into position.

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Our orthodontists understand that the idea of cleaning teeth with braces can seem daunting. That’s why we’re here to answer your questions and give advice on oral hygiene during your checkup appointments in our Carmel, IN, orthodontics office. If you’re not sure about something, ask us!

Clean Braces Are Possible When You:

1. Brush Your Teeth After Meals

When you eat, food can get left on and in between your teeth. This can result in sticky plaque forming which contains bacteria. Consuming sugars in food will then cause this bacteria to produce acids that harm your enamel. Stop plaque from building up in the first place by thoroughly brushing your teeth and braces after eating.

For the best clean, our orthodontists recommend using a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and to take your time while brushing. Be sure to brush every tooth equally to get rid of all plaque. A longer routine might seem annoying, but it will pay off in the end when you have a cavity-free smile after your braces are removed.

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Out at lunch or in school and can’t brush your teeth? Try rinsing your mouth with water to clear out food debris and left behind sugars. This method should only be used when brushing isn’t a possibility. If you’re able to, always use a toothbrush and toothpaste.

2. Use Floss Threaders or Water Flossers

Regular string floss gets the job done but some patients aren’t sure how to floss with braces. If you struggle using standard floss, our orthodontists recommend you seek out either floss threaders or a water flosser to make the process easier.

A floss threader is a small, handy tool that uses string floss to help speed up your dental routine. All you need to do is pull a piece of waxed floss through the eye of the floss threader and insert the tip of the plastic needle underneath the wire of your braces. Once under, floss one set of teeth (upper or lower) like normal. Then, pull the floss back out, rethread the floss threader, and repeat on the next set of teeth.

Water flossers, though more expensive, are a worthy investment for those with or without braces. These devices use a steady stream of water to remove debris and plaque from between teeth. They’re also great for cleaning along the gumline. Some water flossers even feature tapered tips to improve cleaning around brackets.

Depending on your preferences, our orthodontists can recommend a few flossing options. Ultimately, you should use what allows you to get the best results.

3. Change Out Your Toothbrush Regularly

Toothbrushes aren’t built to last forever. Eventually, the bristles do become worn and no longer perform the best. Braces are one thing that can affect a toothbrush’s lifespan and cause it to wear faster. Because of this, our orthodontists tell patients to switch out their toothbrush every 3 months or once the bristles aren’t straight anymore.

4. Stay Away from Whitening Toothpastes

Sure, whiter teeth are desirable but it’s best to leave the whitening until after your braces are removed. The main problem with whitening toothpastes during orthodontic treatment is that they can’t whiten the part of your tooth that is underneath the bracket.

This results in only the exposed areas of your teeth getting brighter and what was covered by the bracket remaining off-white. Our orthodontists recommend you stick with a fluoride toothpaste and focus on maintaining a clean smile free of cavities.

Keep Your Smile Clean Throughout Treatment

Brushing and flossing with braces takes patience but with time, both will become second nature. Our orthodontists serving Carmel, IN and Greater Indianapolis can also offer additional tips to make sure you stay on track with oral hygiene during treatment. Call WestClay Orthodontics at (317) 593-1400 today or request an appointment online.

This blog post has been updated.

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