The Ultimate Guide to Oral Care for Braces Wearers

Here’s how to brush and floss with braces

Categories: Braces, Dental Care

From a young age, we were taught about the importance of dental care and hygiene. Brush, floss and gargle are three simple steps to prevent the buildup of plaque that can damage your teeth.

When you have braces on, diligent oral care becomes even more important as these tiny metal brackets and wires that are working towards giving you a beautiful smile, may make it a little challenging to clean your teeth.

Nonetheless, it is not impossible. All you need is some patience and follow the following steps to maintain a healthy smile with braces.

Step 1: Be equipped

Having all your dental care tools within arm’s reach when they are needed makes it much easier for you to get everything done well and in the quickest time possible. Here’s a list of everything you need to keep your teeth healthy during your course of treatment:

– Your preferred toothbrush (Manual or electric, ideally with soft bristles)
– Interdental or go-between brush
– Dental floss
– Toothpaste with fluoride
– Mouthwash
– Clean water

There are many varieties of the above tools available on shelves. If you are unsure about which dental tools to choose, speak to your trusted dentist to help you make the right decision.

Step 2: Just brush, don’t rush

The way you brush your teeth pre-braces and when with braces may be different. If you were previously brushing your teeth willy-nilly (without a proper a direction), this is a habit that should not be practiced especially when you have braces fitted.

To brush your teeth right when you have braces fitted, think about doing it slow and steady. Focus on one tooth at a time and move your toothbrush in small circular motions. Imagine drawing small circles on your teeth with your toothbrush. On top of brushing the surface of your teeth, you should also brush between each brace and under your gum line to prevent food and bacteria buildup along those areas too.

Step 3: Floss in and out

Flossing may not be part of the oral care routine for many but for braces wearers, this step is exceptionally important. Flossing helps to remove bacteria and food at difficult to reach areas where the toothbrush may miss, especially around and in between the metal brackets. To floss with braces, you will need to gently pull the floss through the braces’ wire and gently move it back and forth. Once done, repeat this step with the next area and continue until you have flossed both the top and bottom sets of your teeth.

Step 4: Gargle

Lastly, once you have completed the above, finish your dental care routine with a good gargle by swishing an antibacterial mouthwash around your mouth. This step not only helps to freshen your mouth but more importantly, removes food particles, bacteria and germs lingering in your mouth.

Step 5: Make it a routine

Your oral care routine should happen at least twice a day but with braces on, you should make it a habit to clean your teeth and mouth after every meal. This helps to reduce the likelihood of plaque buildup as well as unwanted bacteria lingering in your mouth for a long time as this might cause dental issues.

A healthy and diligent oral care routine for braces wearers may feel like a chore at beginning of your treatment as you are required to spend more time than you may have previously. Remember, patience is key and the effort spent to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your orthodontic treatment is ultimately one of the best investments you will make, as these steps will keep dental issues at bay during and after your treatment. Hence, at the end of the day, you will receive a beautiful, straight and healthy smile.

Understanding your tools

There are a variety of dental tools to choose from that will help you keep your teeth healthy while wearing braces. Your options are in abundance but are you able to identify which are the right ones for you?

Toothbrush

  • Manual toothbrush

    So, why do some people opt for manual toothbrushes still? Besides being cost effective, manual toothbrushes can do an equally good job at removing plaque. That’s right, you can do keep your teeth clean by brushing your teeth manually but with the right technique, you can effectively remove plaque effectively too.

  • Electric toothbrush

    They vibrate and rotate but are they any better at cleaning your teeth as compared to a manual toothbrush? In general, studies including one by the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics have shown that electric toothbrushes are more effective at reducing plaque than manual toothbrushes. Though, one downside to electric toothbrushes is its cost. It may not be affordable for everyone as compared to conventional manual toothbrushes.

Floss

  • Water floss

    Water floss is an electronic oral care device that works by spraying water in steady pulses in between and around your teeth. Water floss can effectively remove food as well as prevent gum diseases. Though, a word of caution, some individuals find it messy using water floss as compared to string floss. This is due to the constant water flow when using it. Hence, water floss users are advised to stand over a sink while using it.

  • String floss

    The string floss is a tried-and-true oral care technique. It is effective at cleaning your teeth, especially in between them. With braces, you will need to thread the sting floss not only in between your teeth but around the metal brackets and wire too. There is no doubt that this method is time consuming and will require lots of patience but nonetheless, it is worth the effort. The good news is, you are able to use string floss anywhere, it is portable and pocket-friendlier too.

Mouthwash

As for your mouthwash options, braces wearers are limited to using only alcohol-free mouthwash. This is mainly because alcohol could increase the risk of the brackets of your braces dislodging. More importantly, do opt for a mouthwash that has ingredients such as fluoride, which helps to prevent tooth sensitivity as well as prevent tooth decay.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. If you are finding it difficult to come to a decision, perhaps you could ask yourself these questions:

1. Which would be more convenient for my lifestyle?
2. Is it within my budget?
3. What are the benefits against its disadvantages?

Lastly, speak to the person who will be able to guide you best. Consult our dentists at i.Dental today.

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