How to Floss and Brush with Braces

You choose braces because you want a smile makeover. That makes it a particular shame that so many people get their braces off only to discover improper oral care has created problems in their mouths. While you have braces, proper dental hygiene matters. Without it, you can face demineralization (which causes white marks on your teeth), gingivitis, tooth sensitivity, bad breath, and other issues.

Fortunately, if you want to avoid all of these problems, you can. You need to make sure you brush your teeth properly twice a day and floss daily. 

At Georgetown Orthodontics, our orthodontist Dr. Maya Oliver and our dedicated team are available to answer any questions you might have about keeping your mouth clean and problem-free while you have braces. Dr. Oliver offers Damon™ Smile braces at our office in Washington, DC. These innovative braces shorten your treatment time — and the period where you have to be extra diligent about oral hygiene. 

We have some tips to help you keep your mouth clean and healthy so you can reveal a dazzling smile when your braces come off. 

Brushing with braces

When you brush your teeth, it’s important to reach every surface — and that includes your brackets. Angle your toothbrush so you can gently brush the top and bottom of each bracket. Then, make sure to brush the exposed tooth all around the bracket, too. Angling your toothbrush about 45 degrees can help you reach your toothbrush under the archwire to get the entirety of your tooth clean. Don’t forget to brush the inside of each tooth, too. 

Take extra care when you first get your braces. Expect that it will probably take you more time than usual to brush, and plan to spend about 10 seconds on each tooth. Slowing down and developing good brushing habits in the beginning helps you protect your teeth as you wear your braces. 

Avoid whitening toothpaste, too. While you do want a bright smile even while wearing your braces, the whitening solution can’t reach under your brackets. This can leave you with uneven discoloration when your braces are removed. 

Flossing with braces

We know that it’s tempting to skip flossing while you’re wearing braces. Plenty of people don’t floss regularly even without brackets and archwire standing in the way. 

Still, flossing makes a dramatic difference in your oral health, and you should never skip it. When you floss, you remove plaque to help prevent cavity-causing tartar from forming on your teeth. You also keep your gums clean and healthy to avoid gingivitis. 

You have a few options for flossing with braces. Some people can get normal floss to slide under the archwire so they can floss. This can be tricky though, so consider a floss threader to help you get the floss under your braces. Once you do, floss gently up and down just like you would without braces. 

Alternatively, consider investing in a water flosser. This device sends a stream of water between your teeth, removing plaque and food particles to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. If you find it frustrating to floss with braces, a water flosser gives you a way to maintain your oral hygiene with less hassle. 

Braces alternative

If you think brushing and flossing with braces sounds like too much work, ask Dr. Oliver about Invisalign®. This alternative to traditional braces straightens your teeth with clear plastic aligners instead of metal brackets and archwires. You can remove the aligners to brush and floss normally, then place them back in your mouth to continue straightening your teeth.

Whichever teeth-straightening option you choose, our team is here to help you protect your oral health as you get your dream smile. Call our office in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, to get started. 

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