How Should Your Brushing Habits Change to Accommodate Braces?

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who currently wear braces, it’s important to be mindful of your brushing habits and adjust them accordingly. Braces can cause food particles to get stuck in the small spaces between teeth and around the hardware, which can lead to oral health issues if not taken care of properly. Let’s review the proper ways to brush while wearing braces.

1. Brush Twice a Day

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing two times per day with fluoride toothpaste. For brace-wearers, it’s important to brush every available surface, including around the brackets and under the wires. To make sure you’re reaching all areas of your mouth, use a toothbrush with soft bristles and hold it at 45 degrees against the gums. Take at least two minutes to brush, making sure you’re brushing in small circles on each tooth.

2. Floss Regularly

The ADA also recommends flossing once a day to complement brushing and help prevent tooth decay. There are special tools for easy cleaning between brackets, such as threaders and super floss. Ask your orthodontist to show you how to use them properly.

3. Use a Mouthwash

Using an antiseptic or fluoride mouthwash can help reduce plaque buildup and freshen your breath. Just make sure any product you use is approved by the ADA, and follow the instructions on the bottle for the best results.

4. Change Toothbrush Regularly

Brushing and flossing can take a toll on toothbrushes, so make sure to replace yours every three months or whenever the bristles become worn out. You may want to switch from a manual to an electric toothbrush as well since they can be more effective at cleaning around braces.

5. Visit Your Dentist Regularly

It’s important to visit your dentist every six months for regular check-ups and cleaning, even when you have braces. They can examine the areas around your brackets and wires and help remove any stubborn plaque or debris. Professional cleaning is also a great way to ensure you’re brushing properly.

Braces require extra attention when it comes to oral hygiene, but with the right brushing habits, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy while wearing them. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, over the course of their life, the average American ends up brushing their teeth for a total of 38.5 days, so it’s important to ensure you’re doing it right. Contact our office today for your dental needs.