Are You Using the Right Technique When Brushing With Your Braces?


Riverdale, NY – Braces are a great way to improve your smile and your oral health. But, it’s important that you take extra steps to keep your teeth healthy during your orthodontic treatment. You’ll need to listen to all of the advice your orthodontic team gives you, and take extra care when brushing and flossing. Dr. Catherine Woo of Riverdale Family Orthodontics has some tips to make caring for your teeth as easy as possible.

“We know that when your braces are on, it can seem a little more difficult to brush and floss properly,” says Dr. Woo. “But when you see your gorgeous smile when those braces come off, you’ll realize that little bit of extra time was well worth it.”

Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Braces make it much easier for food particles and plaque to stick to your teeth and braces, so it’s important to brush regularly to remove them. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush after every meal. Dr. Woo recommends the following technique to ensure a healthy smile:

  1. Rinse well with water before brushing to loosen any food particles that may be remaining from your meal or snack.
  2. Rinse your toothbrush to be sure it is clean and free of germs before brushing.
  3. Use a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  4. Hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle, beginning along the gumline.
  5. Gently guide the toothbrush in short sweeping strokes along all surfaces of your teeth.
  6. Brush for a total of 2-3 minutes.
  7. Pay close attention to brushing under the wires of your braces.
  8. Don’t forget your tongue – bacteria can live on your tongue, so be sure to brush it, too.

Flossing your teeth is also very important while in orthodontic treatment. Your toothbrush can’t reach all of the areas where food particles and plaque can live, so it’s crucial to floss between your teeth and at the gumline every day. Getting the floss under your archwires can be difficult, so Dr. Woo recommends a floss threader or specialized floss if needed.

  1. Use the threader to guide the floss under the archwire.
  2. Remove the threader.
  3. Pay close attention to floss thoroughly each side of the teeth in that space.
  4. Pull the floss out, and repeat the above steps for each additional tooth until the entire mouth has been flossed.

“It is also important to remember your regular three to six month cleanings and check-ups with your dentist, even while you are in orthodontic treatment,” says Dr. Woo. “Braces will be most effective on a healthy smile, so we want to be sure you are keeping cavities and gum disease at bay so we can have the best result possible when we remove the braces.”

If you can’t brush right after a meal or snack, Dr. Woo recommends rinsing your mouth well with water, and brushing as soon as you can. Add flossing to your nighttime ritual so you can ensure all food particles are adequately removed before going to sleep.

By adding a bit more attention to your oral care routine during your treatment, you can ensure a beautifully straight and healthy smile when your braces come off. To learn more about how braces can improve your smile, contact Dr. Woo today at 718-884-7700.

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