HOW TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITH BRACES
You care about your teeth and want a beautiful, healthy, straight smile: That’s why you got braces! Now you’re faced with the challenge of keeping your teeth clean and healthy while sporting brackets, wires, and other bits and pieces. How do you do it? Learning how to brush your teeth with braces can take a little practice, but it’s definitely worth doing right.
How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces
Plaque is a biofilm that continually forms on the teeth. A thorough brushing can remove plaque, but any that is missed will transform into tarter, a hard yellow material that stains teeth and can only be removed by a dental professional. Unfortunately, wearing braces can make it harder to remove plaque and food particles, because the braces provide so many places for them to hide! That doesn’t mean that you should give up, however. If you wear braces, you simply need to take a little extra care to make sure that you get your teeth good and clean each morning and night. Use the following tips for help.
1. MAKE IT ROUTINE
When you wear braces, it is easier to miss buildup on your teeth. To decrease the likelihood that plaque and food particles will have a chance to linger long enough to cause problems, make it a point to brush your teeth after every meal. In fact, many people who value their pearly whites choose to brush after snacks as well.
2. GATHER YOUR TOOLS
It is always easier to do a job well when you have everything that you need at your fingertips. As you prepare to brush your teeth, make sure that you have access to the following tools:
Manual or electric toothbrush
Floss and a floss threader or a water flosser
Proxabrushes (also called go-between brushes and interdental brushes)
3. START WITH A SWISH
Once you’ve assembled your tools, grab the cup, fill it with water, and rinse your mouth out. Swishing a little water around the interior of your mouth before you start brushing can loosen food particles and other debris, making it easier to remove them. Then, take out any elastics, bands, or removable orthodontic pieces and set them in a safe place.
4. KNOW THE ANGLES
After rinsing your toothbrush and topping it with a small amount of nonabrasive toothpaste, it’s time to brush. Start by holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently brushing along the gum line. Next, shift the angle of the toothbrush so that you can carefully brush the tops of your brackets. Then, reposition the toothbrush to angle up so that you can brush under the brackets and wire. Be sure to clean each tooth. Then, brush the chewing and inner surfaces of your teeth.
5. TAKE YOUR TIME
When you have braces, it is vital that you take your time and thoroughly brush all the necessary surfaces of your braces and teeth. Experts say you should spend a minimum of two minutes actively brushing your teeth, but it may take you longer, especially when you are first getting in the habit of brushing with braces. If you’re having trouble reaching all the surfaces of your teeth due to the wires and brackets, try using a proxabrush after your regular brushing routine. Its small size and flexibility will help you clean under and around your braces.
Flossing with brackets and wires attached to your teeth can be pretty tough, but it is an important step in any dental hygiene routine. If you are using string floss, use a floss threader to maneuver the floss around your braces.
7. RINSE AGAIN
Once you have brushed and flossed, it’s time to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash. This helps eliminate germs, removes any lingering food particles, and freshens your breath.
8. CHECK YOUR WORK
Before you declare that you’re done brushing your teeth, take a few minutes to look in a mirror and check your work.
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