Brushing your teeth can seem like an annoying chore. But it’s even worse when you have metal wires affixed to your teeth. Braces tend to be food traps where plaque forms around the brackets almost instantly.
When toothbrush bristles don’t reach all the spaces around your braces, what can you do? The following toothbrushing tips may help you or your child.
Take a New Angle on Brushing
Brushing your teeth when you have braces will take a little longer than routine brushing because there are a few extra surfaces to cover. Taking the time to clean from all angles, however, is worth it.
Tip your toothbrush bristles into the gum line at the base of your teeth. Brush this way along all of your teeth, inside and outside, upper and lower. This clears the plaque away from your gums.
Next, angle the brush against your brackets from below and brush them in that direction. Switch to the opposite side of the brackets to clean those sides, as well. Remember to brush along the chewing surfaces of your teeth, too.
By angling your brush, you can effectively clean your teeth around your braces.
Use an Interdental Brush
An interdental brush has a little cone-shaped tip of bristles attached to a handle. You can easily slip this fuzzy tip between your teeth and the wire to get the spots your regular toothbrush misses.
A powered toothbrush almost always makes brushing easier. The vibrations from the brush essentially blast plaque bacteria away from the brackets on your teeth, which is more than you could accomplish with a regular toothbrush alone. Plus, an electric toothbrush means less work for you to do.
Try a Hydroflosser
Water flossers send out a stream of water that flushes away debris. Because water provides the mechanical cleaning action, it can’t get stuck in your braces. Instead, you can maneuverer the stream to clean every part of your teeth and brackets.
A water flosser doesn’t replace regular toothbrushing, but it’s a great way to go back and clean the hard-to-reach areas…and will mean that you don’t have to floss!
Get Plenty of Fluoride
Try as you might, it’s impossible to prevent all plaque growth on your teeth and braces. Plaque development starts within minutes after brushing, and it grows very fast after you eat.
The best thing you can do to supplement your orthodontic oral hygiene routine is to get plenty of fluoride. Fluoride is available in toothpaste and some mouthwashes. It’s a natural mineral that strengthens tooth enamel against decay even when there may be some plaque left behind after brushing.
Visit your dentist to get more tips on keeping your teeth healthy while wearing braces.