How to Brush & Floss Your Teeth with Braces

Today, you’re going to learn how to brush and floss your teeth with braces.

Having an excellent oral care routine where you brush and floss daily is very important to the overall health of your mouth. Add braces into the mix and your teeth start to attract more plaque, are at a higher risk of becoming decayed, and your gums are more susceptible to inflammation. Because of this situation, when you get braces from Braces Haven with Dr Charles Cohen, our Ottawa Orthodontist, you should be committed to ensuring that you’ll do everything you can to keep your mouth clean and your teeth and gums healthy. 

Doing so will require you to learn a new way to brush and floss! As initially mentioned, this is exactly what you’re about to do.

How To Brush Your Teeth With Braces

Brushing teeth with braces can seem intimidating at first. But having the right tools will help you learn how to brush teeth with braces in a way that keeps your teeth and gums healthy. When it comes to brushing with braces, the best toothbrush for braces (with all of the fixed appliances that come with it) is an electric one. 

Also, be sure that your toothpaste has fluoride in it, as fluoride is crucial in helping prevent cavities.

Related: Can I Use My Regular Toothbrush and Toothpaste with Braces?

Before You Brush

Before you begin brushing, take out all of the removable orthodontic accessories in your mouth (ex: elastics). After that, you can swish some water around in your mouth to help loosen up any food particles that might be laying around.

How to Brush with Braces

When you brush, pay attention to what you’re doing. Hold the electric toothbrush in your hand and let it apply the pressure; don’t bear down. Carefully clean around all wires and brackets, maneuvering the brush as needed to get into the required spaces. Tilt the brush at a 45-degree angle so that the tips of the bristles get under your gums. Then tilt the brush to do the same for the brackets and wires, coming from both the top and the bottom. 

How Long to Brush

Brushing your entire mouth should take you at least two minutes.  Most electric toothbrushes will guide you by pulsating every 30 seconds telling you to move to another quadrant of your mouth. Don’t forget to brush the backs and chewing surfaces of your teeth as well. It can be difficult to clean your back teeth. You may actually have to close your mouth some when the toothbrush is already in your mouth, so that your jaw muscles will relax and give you more working room.

Final Inspection

Once you’re done brushing, rinse your mouth and look in the mirror to inspect your teeth and braces.  If you see that you still have plaque in certain areas (especially between the bracket and gums) then touch up those spots as appropriate. Remember to always pay attention and try your best to clean every surface of every tooth.

How to Floss with Braces

No matter how well you brush or how much you spent on your toothbrush, there’s nothing that can replace flossing. You may think that your teeth are really clean and there’s no plaque between them, but trust that it’s there. If the plaque isn’t removed, the bacteria that it hosts remain longer to produce enamel-corroding acids which eventually lead to tooth decay…meaning you’ll need to have dental work done to restore your tooth and make it healthy again.

When you have braces, floss at least once daily, preferably before you go to bed, that way, all of the plaque that was accumulated throughout the day can be removed just before your mouth is its driest. 

For best results, you should floss, brush, and floss again to ensure that your teeth and gums are as clean as possible.

Floss Threaders

To floss with braces on, you’ll need special floss for braces / orthodontics.  Traditional flossing string works fine as dental floss for braces, but you’ll need to use a floss threader with it and it can be a bit time consuming. 

Incorporating floss threaders is like using a needle and thread.  The threader is a nylon loop that’s connected to a rigid, yet very flexible tip.  First, you thread the flossing string through the loop and pinch the floss together to get it to hang through like a needle and thread. Then you take the tip of the threader and push it up under the orthodontic wire. At this point you can remove it and floss your teeth like you normally would, but you’ll need to repeat the process at every tooth.

While this method works very well, using a floss threader is time-consuming because you can only do one area at a time. Fortunately, there are other tools that can make your life easier!

Water Flossers

If you’re going to go through the effort of getting braces, you may want to invest in an additional tool called a water flosser. Water flossers make quick work of flossing with braces and are well worth the small monetary investment. They are available for purchase over the counter in the toothpaste aisle of most stores.

Water flossers make the way that you floss braces easy, by substituting the use of flossing string and nylon threaders. A water flosser is a device that has a handheld wand and a reservoir that holds water. 

To use a water flosser, you aim the nozzle between your teeth and push a button that releases a burst of high-pressured water, flushing away plaque from the area. Water flossers also make learning how to floss with a retainer wire behind teeth easier!

While water flossers are a fantastic part of the flossing routine, Dr. Charles Cohen also recommends using traditional floss. 

Professional Cleanings and Braces

Now that you know how to brush your teeth with braces and how to floss with braces, you’re well on your way to ensuring that your teeth and gums stay healthy during your orthodontic treatment.

In addition to at-home care, going to the dentist is crucial too. Typically, we recommend most people go for a professional cleaning every six months.  However, some folks may need to go more frequently while they’re in braces. If you think that you might be in this category, then speak with your dentist about increasing the frequency of your cleanings.

We’re here to support you throughout your entire smile makeover process so never hesitate to give us a call with your concerns!