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How to Brush Your Teeth With Braces and Other Oral Hygiene Tips

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brush your teeth with braces
Find out how to brush your teeth with braces

When you get your new set of braces put on, you need to relearn how to brush your teeth with braces. It can take some time to adjust with brackets and wires now in the way. If you need to learn how to take care of your teeth, keep reading!

How do you brush your teeth with braces, step by step?

Brushing teeth with braces is similar to how you were previously brushing your teeth. However, you will want to take care to be gentle. Electric toothbrushes are great at removing plaque from braces.

How to brush your teeth with braces

  1. Rinse off your toothbrush and apply your favorite toothpaste.
  2. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line.
  3. Start moving the brush in circular motions around your braces and teeth.
  4. Clean the front, back, and top of each tooth for two minutes total.
  5. Spend about 30 seconds properly brushing each quadrant of your mouth.
  6. Use an interdental brush to get in between teeth and under braces wires
  7. Finally, remember to brush your tongue when you are finished. Doing so helps your breath smell clean and fresh.
  8. Rinse your mouth.

How to use an interdental brush

Using this little tool helps remove plaque from the wires if you have trouble flossing with braces. The special brush reaches where your normal brush can't. Here's how to use it:

  1. Slide the brush gently between your brackets.
  2. Move the brush up and down on both sides of the brackets.
  3. Run the brush along the wires as you move from bracket to bracket.
  4. Rinse with water when you are done flossing.
  5. Make sure to replace the interdental brush when it starts to wear out.

Overall, many patients find using the interdental toothbrush easier than flossing, although some dentists argue that it isn't meant to replace flossing. Either way, it can help improve your oral health.

Tips for brushing with braces

  • It helps if you rinse with water first. Doing so removes loose food particles from your brackets.
  • Don't use whitening toothpaste or whitening mouthwash products. They will cause your teeth to be a different color when you have the braces taken off. If you accidentally use one of these dental products, rinse right away with water.
  • Brushing and flossing is important to avoid tooth decay. Many patients use a floss threader or an interdental brush to remove plaque and food.
  • Consider watching videos on “how to brush your teeth with braces“.
  • Use a water flosser before brushing (after brushing it washes away the benefits of your toothpaste).

Can I brush my teeth right after getting braces?

You will likely feel sensitive right after getting the treatment. However, it is still important that you clean your teeth and gums. You will adjust to having braces within a few days. But you still need to have proper oral hygiene in the meantime.

Your brackets can take 24 hours to fully adhere to your teeth, but your braces should be fine to clean after your next meal. Orthodontists use a strong adhesive, which makes it safe to eat soft food after you leave the clinic. Make sure you follow the specific instructions that your orthodontist gives you.

When you should brush

You won't need to clean your teeth immediately after getting the braces on. However, you should start brushing them after every meal. You want to get into a healthy dental routine now so it is easier to stick with.

How many times a day should I brush my teeth with braces?

Your dentist will suggest brushing two times a day with or without braces. When it comes to orthodontics treatment, you should also clean your teeth every time you eat.

Many people choose to do the longer part of their routine in the morning to combat bad breath and get it out of the way. However, you should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day with braces and after meals. You want to gently floss as well.

Why you should brush two times daily

When you brush teeth twice a day you avoid plaque build-up as well as cavities or tooth decay. Each time you clean your teeth, make sure you spend at least two minutes cleaning your teeth.

You do not want food particles to build up under your wire or bracket either. The buildup can cause tooth staining and may irritate your gums. In the worst-case scenario, the food causes your wire to snap. If that happens, make sure to contact your orthodontist or dental professional immediately to receive assistance.

What brush should I use?

Be sure to brush with soft bristles. You can decide whether to use a traditional toothbrush or an electric one. As long as you clean your smile gently with a soft brush, you should be fine. You will also need to floss between the wires, which is much easier to do with an interdental toothbrush.

What is the interdental brush for?

cleaning braces
An interdental brush will help keep your braces clean

The interdental brush can replace flossing your braces—not brushing your teeth. Keep in mind that you don't need to put toothpaste on the interdental brushing tool. That's because you do it right before or after you brush around your teeth and gums. You will still want to floss if you can, because it is essential for good gum health. Your orthodontist will give you advice.

Can you brush your teeth the first day with braces?

Right after your orthodontics appointment, you will feel sore. However, you will still need to brush your teeth properly to remove bacteria and food from surfaces in your mouth.

If you are too tender right after leaving the practice, a good mouthwash with fluoride should suffice. That said, you should still brush your smile before you go to sleep or after eating.

Conclusion

It is important you start cleaning your braces as soon as you feel comfortable. The discomfort is only temporary, so make sure you clean the top and bottom rows of teeth thoroughly when you can.

You will get used to wearing braces after a week or two, and will soon find a way to brush your teeth with braces that work for you.

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Contributors:
Natalie Asmussen
Natalie Asmussen
Natalie Asmussen on LinkedinNatalie Asmussen on Website
Natalie used to work as a Community Health Worker and Health Insurance Navigator. She continues to follow her passion for connecting people with the healthcare they need by writing informative content about dentistry and medicine.