You’ve just started your journey to a straight smile with braces, and you’re excited to achieve your goals. Perhaps you think that your only concern now is realigning your teeth. Everything else doesn’t really matter as much as the alignment of your smile. However, if you don’t keep up with normal maintenance, you may not have teeth to straighten!
Keep reading to learn why and how you should adjust your habits to keep your braces and teeth healthy and beautiful.
Why You Need to Floss While Wearing Braces
Getting braces doesn’t mean you get to take a vacation from your normal oral hygiene routine—it just changes a little bit. You have to negotiate around the metal brackets and wires, but you still need to make sure to clear out plaque every day through brushing and flossing.
Otherwise, you may likely have to deal with complications like cavities, gum disease, or permanent white marks left on your teeth. These issues can prolong or interfere with your orthodontic treatment plan, keeping you from your perfectly straight smile.
How to Brush Your Teeth and Braces
Obviously, you can’t approach brushing exactly as you did before. Having braces forces you to take shorter strokes and clean more surfaces than just your teeth. Make sure you do the following at least twice every day:
- Start by taking off any rubber bands you may be wearing.
- Brush each bracket and the top and bottom of the wire in between.
- Dedicate at least 30 sections to brushing each quadrant of your teeth. Make sure you brush each surface sufficiently, including surfaces hidden from sight.
- After you’re done, take a thorough look at your braces to make sure there are not traces of food or other debris.
- Check the area near the gumline (above the top braces and below the lower braces) particularly well. This is where plaque likes to sit and build up on your teeth.
- Put your rubber bands back on, if you’re supposed to be wearing them.
How to Floss Correctly with Braces
Although brushing can address the plaque that is easily visible, there are tight spaces even without braces in between your teeth where bacteria can accumulate and cause tooth decay. Here is how you can work around the wires and access these areas.
- Take about 18 inches of waxed dental floss. You shouldn’t use unwaxed because it could catch on the brackets and shred more easily.
- Thread the floss in between the main wire and your teeth and grab the loose end.
- Gently pass the floss between two teeth, and move the floss back and forth against one side of the tooth until it reaches the gumline. Try not to snap it because this action could damage the soft tissue.
- Repeat this process for all the spaces between your teeth at least once daily.
In the end, when the time comes for the braces to come off, you’ll want to have brilliant teeth to show off. Cleaning your teeth and gums throughout treatment is worth the time and effort you put in so that you can truly enjoy the benefits that braces can give you.
About the Author
After graduating from the University of Illinois with his dental degree, Dr. Ben Youel went on to complete a year-long, hospital-based residency program. He then practiced general dentistry for a few years. After practicing for a time, he returned to school to complete a master’s degree in oral sciences as well as a three-year orthodontic residency. Today, he owns and operates Grayslake Orthodontics, where he happily works with patients of all ages to correct misalignment in their smiles. If you are interested in working with Dr. Ben, contact our office at 847-548-4330 or go to our Contact Us page here.