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Brushing with Braces: A Guide

Welcome to Reese Orthodontics, your Charleston, SC premier Invisalign and Braces professional. We look forward to helping you obtain your best smile.

Braces can be left alone to their job of straightening your teeth (or your child’s teeth). However, they cannot be left to their own cleaning devices. Improperly brushing them can make their job more difficult due to a buildup of bacteria that leads to plaque and, eventually, decay.

The best way to treat this problem is to prevent it. Continue reading for a guide on brushing with braces for you or your child, including how your brushing routine should change to accommodate your appliance and any additional tips for keeping everything clean.

Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.

Why Brushing with Braces is Important

Since your teeth are partially covered during treatment, some patients (mostly children) feel they don’t have to brush as well while they wear braces. The reality is that teeth are more susceptible to oral health issues with braces, not less.

This is because braces offer bacteria and particles of food more opportunities to get stuck and grow between the nooks and crannies of the archwire and brackets. Without being cleaned, these particles develop into plaque and dental calculus, which can wreak havoc on teeth.

Sugars and bacteria can work their way under brackets and between teeth to start forming cavities, which are harder to treat while wearing braces. However, if left alone, these cavities can worsen until tooth pain or decay begin to occur.

This erodes the teeth’ bones and leads to periodontal disease, which affects the gums and tissues that support them. If left untreated, bacteria can get in your blood from the decaying teeth and cause other problems, such as inflamed arteries or blood clots, leading to heart attacks.

If you feel tooth pain, speak with your provider. If they suspect that you have cavities or tooth decay, you may need to have your braces temporarily removed to be examined and cleaned by a dental professional.

Remember that you should never let the problem persist until the end of your treatment, at which point the problem could be far more severe (and costly).

How to Brush Properly with Braces

All this means that you need to know how to brush properly with braces to prevent these problems. You should still brush 2-3 times daily for at least 2 minutes and floss at least once daily with braces. However, your technique should change to clean your appliance more effectively.

Start by rinsing your mouth with water, which will help dislodge any food trapped in your braces. Next, brush at a 45-degree angle, which means the bristles should be angled up into your gums on top and down into the gums on the bottom. Then, brush at an angle over the brackets to flush out anything trapped behind them.

Remember to angle your toothbrush up and down to get behind the wire and brackets. Your goal is to get to the gumline of each tooth on the front and back to ensure that nothing is trapped there. This will not only clean your braces but reduce gum inflammation as well.

How to Floss Properly with Braces

Flossing should also change to accommodate your braces. Your orthodontist should provide you with a floss threader, which is a looped wire that allows you to pass floss under the wire so you can get to the gums. Remember to floss each tooth on either side of the gum, addressing all surfaces.

Additionally, you can buy a Waterpik or similar device to help flush out bacteria and food around your braces. These devices make a great addition to your brushing and flossing routines but should not replace them.

Consider using an anti-cavity mouthwash before flossing to enhance its benefits. Alternatively, you can also pour a little mouthwash into the Waterpik. When it mixes with water, it can help you control bacteria better than water alone.

If you have more questions about brushing or flossing with your new braces. They can help you or your child understand how to keep your braces clean as well as give you the tools you need to stop oral health issues before they happen.

Choose Reese Orthodontics

If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.

Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.


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