Steps for brushing with braces
If you currently wear braces or are considering getting them, you may be unsure about the proper way to brush your teeth while wearing them.
Typically, following the installation of braces, your dentist, orthodontist, hygienist, or assistant will provide a step-by-step explanation of how to maintain proper hygiene while wearing braces. However, it can be challenging to remember all of the steps, especially since you may be experiencing new sensations from the braces. In this blog post, we want to help you by breaking down each step necessary for successful orthodontic care and cavity prevention. Additionally, we will explore various tools and techniques that can simplify this process, so you can focus on enjoying your new smile without worrying about oral health issues.
1. Utilize a brush specifically designed for orthodontic care.
After leaving the orthodontist’s office with your newly installed braces, it is essential to purchase the necessary hygiene products to maintain proper care for your treatment. These products can typically be found at the orthodontist’s office, a nearby pharmacy, or supermarket. In particular, it is important to obtain a special orthodontic brush designed with a groove in the middle that aligns with the bracket placement. This design enables easier access to the brackets and ensures thorough cleaning.
To begin, use the specialized orthodontic brush to gently clean all surfaces of your teeth without toothpaste. Afterward, run your tongue over your teeth to check if the surface feels smooth. Once your teeth feel smooth, you may begin using toothpaste. It’s essential to note that the taste of toothpaste can sometimes reduce tongue sensitivity, making it difficult to determine which areas still require additional care.
2. Brush around the bracket with an interdental brush
Another helpful tool in orthodontic hygiene is the interdental brush, which is a miniature brush measuring about 1 cm with bristles in all directions. This brush is specifically designed to clean around the brackets, as the special orthodontic brush may not be sufficient in these areas. It is essential to use the interdental brush daily in each bracket, especially in the back and more challenging to access areas. Failure to do so can result in the development of white spot cavities around the bracket, which is a common occurrence. Therefore, it is crucial to incorporate this step into your daily oral hygiene routine without fail.
3. Use single tuft brush
In addition to the interdental brush, another brush that can be helpful in orthodontic hygiene is the monotufted brush. This tiny brush may resemble a child’s brush and only has one line of bristles that go in the same direction, which is different from the interdental brush with bristles in all directions. While the monotufted brush may be more challenging to use due to its specificity, it is useful for certain areas where access can be difficult, such as the back area where wisdom teeth emerge.
Furthermore, the monotufted brush is beneficial for specific areas that may still be challenging to clean even with the orthodontic and interdental brushes. It is essential to note that maintaining proper hygiene with braces is crucial to prevent the development of white spot cavities and other oral health issues. Thus, incorporating various brushes into your daily oral hygiene routine can ensure that your teeth and braces are thoroughly cleaned.
4. Uso de la cera de ortodoncia
Including wax in your orthodontic hygiene routine is crucial, and it’s not just about applying it to the areas where the brackets irritate your cheeks or lips. Removing it before brushing your teeth is equally important to ensure complete hygiene in that area. Leaving the wax in place and only brushing other areas can lead to the formation of bacterial plaque in the waxed area, which is something you want to avoid.
Wax used in orthodontics can be a bit sticky, but it’s easy to apply and remove with your finger. To put it back on, all you have to do is take a small amount, roll it into a ball using your fingers, and place it over the wings of the brackets. It’s similar to working with plasticine, and it provides a protective layer that can prevent irritation and discomfort caused by the braces.
You don’t need to use wax on areas that are not causing any discomfort, only on the areas where the braces may be causing injuries. Self-ligating brackets usually don’t require the use of wax because they have small caps instead of wings that face outward, which typically don’t cause any pain or irritation.
5. Use toothpaste and special mouthwash for orthodontics
The more we wear orthodontics than ever, the use of a good toothpaste is necessary.
What is a good orthodontic toothpaste:
- It is crucial to ensure that the toothpaste you use for your orthodontic treatment contains a minimum of 1500 parts per million of fluoride. This is an essential component that helps prevent the teeth from demineralizing and prevents the onset of decay. While there are specialized toothpaste formulations available for orthodontic patients, if they are not available or too expensive, don’t worry. As long as the toothpaste has the required minimum ratio of fluoride, it is sufficient for maintaining good oral health during orthodontic treatment.
- During orthodontic treatment, it is not advisable to use whitening toothpastes as they can be excessively abrasive and lead to unwarranted tooth sensitivity.
- Another type of toothpaste that I highly recommend during orthodontic treatment is sensitivity toothpaste. This type of toothpaste not only helps to strengthen the enamel but also provides relief from the sensitivity that can be caused by orthodontics.
- Using mouthwash can be helpful when you have orthodontics. While it may not be necessary in other circumstances, it can be a good addition during orthodontic treatment. It is recommended to opt for an alcohol-free mouthwash that is not designed for whitening. You can choose from traditional mouthwash, one formulated for orthodontics, or one for sensitive teeth.
The use of a good cream is the perfect accompaniment to brushing teeth with braces.
6. To improve your flossing routine during orthodontic treatment, consider using threaders or super silk.
It is important to maintain good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment, and flossing is a crucial part of it. Flossing should be done at least once a day, using dental floss on all teeth. However, many people only floss where they feel food residue and in a straight in-and-out motion, leading to the formation of plaque and tartar. This process becomes even more delicate during orthodontic treatment, as the wires can obstruct the floss from passing straight through.
To floss properly during orthodontic treatment, it is recommended to use threaders or super silk. These tools allow the floss to pass through the brackets and wires, making it easier to clean in between the teeth. The correct way to use them is to thread the floss through the threader or super silk, then insert it gently in between the teeth and under the wire. Once the floss is in place, it can be moved up and down along the sides of each tooth, removing any food particles or plaque. By flossing properly, orthodontic patients can maintain good oral health and avoid complications such as cavities or gum disease.
- The threader used for flossing during orthodontic treatment resembles the one used for threading a sewing needle. The threader needs to be inserted under the bracket and wire in between the teeth, and once in place, the floss can be threaded and passed through the gaps between both teeth.
- An alternative to using a threader for flossing with braces is to use a product called super silk. This type of floss has a rigid end that can be easily inserted under the bracket and wire without the need for a separate threader. Using super silk can make the flossing process faster and more comfortable for individuals with braces.
7. Appointment with the dentist for dental cleaning every 6 months
Maintaining good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment is essential as there are many parts that are not easily visible and can be missed even with regular brushing. Brackets and wires can make it difficult to see every tooth surface and crevice, which increases the risk of developing cavities and gum disease. Therefore, it is crucial to follow all the recommended steps and even more important to keep up with regular dental cleanings every six months.
These regular dental cleanings are especially important during orthodontic treatment, as they allow your dentist to thoroughly clean and examine your teeth, removing any accumulated plaque and tartar that cannot be removed with regular brushing or flossing. Moreover, your dentist will also check for the presence of cavities, locating them quickly where they can be treated in a more conservative manner. By doing so, your dentist can help prevent any major dental issues that could occur and ensure that your orthodontic treatment goes smoothly.
8. Fluoride topical every 6 months
Preventing white spots or cavities around brackets during orthodontic treatment is crucial. Even with proper oral hygiene practices, some patients may require extra assistance in strengthening their enamel. In such cases, special fluoride treatments in the form of a gel can be applied at the dental office. Another effective option is fluoride varnish, which is preferred by some dentists as it is ingested less and remains on the dental surface for a longer period of time. These treatments can help to prevent enamel demineralization and protect against the development of cavities.
9. Use ultrasonic or electric toothbrush.
To start, let me differentiate between an ultrasonic toothbrush and an electric toothbrush. The ultrasonic brush utilizes vibrations to enhance the speed and effectiveness of brushing, ultimately saving you time and preventing the accumulation of plaque caused by inadequate brushing. Meanwhile, electric brushes automatically move in a designated area to clean teeth.
In my opinion, ultrasonic brushes are superior due to their gentleness, ease of use, and their ability to remove dental plaque effectively, without getting tangled easily with braces.
10.Use water irrigator (Waterpik)
Lastly, but certainly not the least important, is a dental tool that can work wonders for individuals with orthodontics, implant crowns, or bridges when it comes to cleaning.
An exceptional cleaning tool for individuals with orthodontics, implant crowns or bridges is the water irrigator, which operates similarly to dental floss and is much more comfortable for patients when it comes to cleaning difficult-to-reach areas. As a dentist, I prefer this device since it greatly contributes to the success of the dental treatments we provide, leading to satisfied patients. The only disadvantage is the price, but if affordability is not an issue for you, it should undoubtedly be a part of your dental hygiene kit.