Don’t Let Braces Dictate Your Dental Care Routine
Brushing your teeth isn’t rocket science, right? Add in braces, and we are talking about a whole different planet. Dr. Polina Ingberman and the team at Brace Central want to help you keep your mouth clean, even when braces make it difficult. Follow these 8 easy steps for dental care with braces – they’ll make a world of difference!
Start by rinsing. Before you even begin to brush, rinse your mouth out with water. This will allow loose pieces of food to work their way out so you can focus on the tougher food bits (and plaque buildup) when you start brushing.
Brush at an angle. Braces make it much more difficult to get to all areas of your teeth like you did before you had braces. Instead of brushing straight on, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush in a diagonal motion under the arch wire. If brushing your top teeth – hold the brush angled upwards. If brushing your bottom teeth – hold the brush angled downwards. This will allow you to give those hard-to-reach places a thorough cleaning. Don’t forget the areas between the braces and the gums!
Try different types of toothbrushes. “Pointy brushes” – aka interproximal brushes – make it easier for you to get to the tiny spots that your braces make tricky to reach. Sometimes a standard toothbrush just can’t get the job done alone.
Make brushing a routine. Brush your teeth thoroughly 2 to 3 times a day. Allowing pesky pieces of food to get lodged into your gums and hidden in small corners of your braces will allow them to turn into plaque… and no one wants a mouthful of plaque! We suggest carrying a travel size toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste with you wherever you go.
Brush each tooth for the duration of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. ” Yes, you read that correctly. You don’t have to sing it super slow, but an average pace will allow you approximately 10-15 seconds of cleaning per tooth. Focus on your teeth in groups: back left, middle and back right. This will help you keep track of the teeth you have and have not cleaned. It may take longer to brush than it did pre-braces, but believe us it’ll be worth it!
Fight cavities with fluoride. Braces hide little pieces of food that you may have trouble seeing. Mouthwash and toothpaste that contain fluoride will give you an extra layer of defense when it comes to plaque building up around your gums.
Always floss your teeth. We cannot reinforce this enough. Even though you have braces, it doesn’t mean you have a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to flossing. All of the same benefits of flossing still apply – and are even more crucial – when you have braces. Flossing with braces is a bit tricky, so we suggest utilizing floss threaders to make the task a little easier.
Invest in a Sonicare toothbrush. This nifty device allows you to give extra attention to your teeth and gums. Manually brushing produces approximately 300 strokes per minute, so let this battery-operated brush do the extra work for you!
Following these steps is simple once you make it a habit. The point of getting braces is to help create a beautiful smile, but neglecting to properly clean your teeth – and braces – will leave your new, pretty smile stained and overcrowded with plaque build up.
If you are ever in the New York City area, visit Brooklyn orthodontist Dr. Polina Ingberman at Brace Central for the best orthodontic services around!