New to braces? Congratulations! A beautiful, healthy smile is just around the corner. But even though it’s exciting to look forward to your newly straightened pearly whites, we know that getting used to braces can take some time in the beginning. That’s why the Shine Orthodontics team has put together this handy list of the best toothbrushes for braces, which kind of floss to use when flossing with braces, and all the other helpful oral hygiene tools to help you get the most out of your treatment. After all, when you take good care of your teeth and gums while you have braces, the healthier and stronger your smile will be when your appliance comes off. Keep reading to learn more about Dr. Brandon Scheer’s favorite products for oral hygiene with braces!
1. Rely on your trusty toothbrush and toothpaste
Yep, when it comes to keeping your teeth clean with or without braces, you can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned toothbrush and toothpaste. That said, there are a few tips and tricks to brushing your teeth with braces. Since food particles and bacteria love to hide in between and behind your brackets and wires, you’ll need to brush your teeth after every meal, or at least three times a day, using a fluoride toothpaste to avoid cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.If you eat a snack or drink anything other than water in between meals, it’s best to brush your teeth again.
We recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush for braces. Brush using gentle, circular motions starting at the gum line and moving over all surfaces of your teeth, including around the brackets and behind your teeth. Keep in mind that you will likely need to replace your toothbrush more often when you have braces, due to wear and tear from the brackets and wires.
2. Make flossing easier with floss threaders
Another classic tool for optimal oral hygiene is, of course, dental floss. Everyone should be flossing at least once every day, whether they have braces or not, but it’s even more important when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. Brushing goes a long way to dislodge food from your brackets, but it can’t reach all the nooks and crannies between your teeth when braces are in the way. That’s why we recommend using a floss threader. Made from a thin, flexible plastic, this tool has a loop on the end that you thread your floss through. Then, you feed the floss threader through the space between your teeth and wires. Gently floss between each set of teeth all the way up to the gum line at least once a day.
3. Try orthodontic flossers for hard-to-reach areas
Flossers not working out for you? An orthodontic flosser is another great tool for braces. Specifically designed to make flossing with braces easier, this helpful device has two small plastic arms that hold a tight thread of dental floss. All you have to do is hold the handle and guide the floss between your teeth and up into the gum line, then sweep down the sides of your teeth.
4. Give a Waterpik a try
One of our favorite tools for keeping your teeth clean and healthy during braces treatment is the Waterpik, a type of water flosser that douses your gums with a thin stream of water to whisk away debris, plaque and bacteria without the need for dental floss. A water flosser won’t take the place of regular flossing and is an additional step to your oral hygiene routine, but it will help keep your teeth, gums and braces sparkling clean. It’s also useful for dislodging food that can get caught in your braces. We recommend using a Waterpik once a day with braces.
5. Opt for an interproximal brush
An interproximal brush, also called an interdental brush or proxy brush, is a specific type of toothbrush that helps you brush more effectively with braces. A proxy brush is similar to a regular toothbrush except that the bristles are shaped into a cone, which makes it easier to brush up, around and between your brackets and wires. It can get spots that your ordinary toothbrush might have a hard time reaching because of your braces.
6. Rinse with mouthwash throughout the day
While mouthwash isn’t exactly a tool, it’s a valuable item for all braces wearers to have in their oral hygiene toolkit. After you’ve flossed and brushed your teeth, use a fluoride mouthwash as a final step for a minty fresh, ultra clean smile. Mouthwash is a fantastic way to finish off your oral care routine and provide an extra layer of protection against tooth decay.
Have you used any of the above tools for keeping your braces clean? Have more questions about how to take care of braces? Dr. Scheer and the Shine Orthodontics team are here to help any time. Contact us today.