If you’ve just gotten braces put on, your oral hygiene routine is about to change. Don’t worry, though. It’s all for the better as plaque is much easier to reach on and between teeth after they’re straightened. As for the here and now, our Grand Rapids orthodontist has some useful tips when it comes to brushing and flossing.
Here’s what you need to know about oral care while wearing braces and how you can keep your smile clean.
Taking care of your teeth doesn’t just become important once you have metal braces. You should always prioritize your oral health to prevent cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Oral hygiene just requires extra focus during the time in which you are wearing braces.
When teeth and gums are neglected underneath braces, plaque forms. If the plaque is not removed, it will lead to tooth decay. This decay then has to be dealt with by your family dentist, possibly delaying the pace of your orthodontic treatment.
Improper brushing while braces are on can also result in tooth staining that’s visible once brackets and wires are taken off. Sure, your oral care routine each day will be slower than it used to be, but it’s worth the effort in the long-run.
You don’t have to get fancy or splurge for the most expensive oral hygiene equipment to clean your teeth. Generally, Dr. Miller recommends using an electric toothbrush as they tend to be more powerful and can reach around brackets and wires easier.
That isn’t to say a manual toothbrush won’t work; of course it will. Both manual and electric toothbrushes are perfectly acceptable. It’s important to remember that the best toothbrush is one that works for you and gets the job done well.
As for floss, some options work better than others. For example, waxed floss is recommended by Dr. Miller over woven floss as the latter choice can become caught on brackets and tear easily. You can also pair waxed floss with a floss threader to speed up the flossing process and save a few extra minutes.
Some patients even prefer to go a step further and use a water flosser, though it’s not necessary for adequate flossing. One instance where a water flosser may prove more useful, however, is if you have lingual braces.
Want product suggestions? Dr. Miller and his staff would be more than happy to offer their favorite picks for toothbrushes and floss to use with braces so you can clean like a pro at home.
When brushing teeth with braces, you’ll want to follow a process such as the one listed below. Above all else, make sure to take your time so every tooth is cleaned adequately. It’s not unusual for your normal oral care routine to be 2-3 times longer than it once was.
Note: If you have Invisalign® clear aligners instead of braces with brackets and wires, brush and floss your teeth like normal! Just remove the aligners and get to work. Remember to also gently brush the aligners after meals so they don’t accumulate bacteria or stain.
Whether you choose to floss before brushing or after, be careful not to move too fast. It’s also wise to use around 18 inches of floss at a time so you have enough from start to finish.
Our orthodontist in Grand Rapids, MI, wants you to have a show stopping smile after your personalized orthodontic treatment is complete. One way to make that end result even more beautiful is with proper oral hygiene every day. If you have questions about brushing or flossing with braces, please feel free to call Miller Orthodontics at (616) 942-9320 to request an appointment.