Brushing and flossing with braces

  • Once you visit Charlottesville Orthodontics to get your braces put on, you’ll probably be excited to know that you’re well on your way toward that amazing new smile you want and deserve. But when you’re standing in the mirror with your toothbrush in one hand and your floss in the other, you may wonder how you’re supposed to brush and floss your teeth with all that hardware in the way. To help you out, here’s how to do a good job keeping your mouth and braces clean.

  • Things you’ll need to clean your teeth & braces

    We recommend using either a soft-bristled toothbrush or a bi-level brush that has shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges. It is perfectly OK to use an electric toothbrush as long as you’re careful. Just set the brush on a moderate setting and don’t let the vibrations cause the back of the brush to bump into your braces. You’ll also need to make sure you have plenty of dental floss (waxed or unwaxed), a floss threader, and lots of patience!

  • How to brush with braces

    With a small strip of fluoride toothpaste on your brush, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles and plaque that may be under the gum line. Hold your toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, around your braces, and along the gum line. Brush up on the lower teeth and down on the upper teeth. Then use a back-and-forth motion to brush the chewing surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. Finish up by brushing the inside surfaces of the teeth using small circular motions.

    You should get in the habit of brushing your teeth at these times every day to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:

    • In the morning after breakfast
    • After lunch or right after school
    • After dinner
    • At bedtime

    Because your toothbrush will take a real beating from the brackets and wires on your teeth, you’ll need to replace your brush often. It’s time to switch to a new toothbrush as soon as you see the bristles wearing down or fraying.

  • Flossing basics

    You should be flossing your teeth once per day to remove food particles and plaque your toothbrush misses. If you’ve never used a floss threader before, just think of it like a large flexible needle. All you need to do is pull one end of the floss through the hoop of the threader, then push the threader, that’s carrying with it the free end of floss, under your archwire. Then grasp the floss on both ends and slide it up and down between your teeth all the way under the gum line until you hear a squeaking sound. Finally, pull the floss out and use a new section of floss for the next area.

  • Don’t miss any plaque – use disclosing tablets

    Because plaque is a thin tooth-colored film of bacteria, it can be difficult to see it on your teeth. That’s why it’s a great idea to use plaque-disclosing tablets that show you the plaque you’ve missed after brushing and flossing. You can easily find these chewable tablets at your local drugstore. We recommend using them at night after brushing and flossing because the dye in the tablets can stain your gums temporarily for a few hours. Just chew on a tablet for about 30 seconds or so, then look in the mirror to see where the dye shows. The dye will stain any plaque your brush and floss missed. These handy little tablets can help you take your brushing and flossing up a notch so get in the habit of using them every day!

  • Contact us for Charlottesville Invisalign® & braces

    While it may seem like it’s impossible to do a good job of brushing and flossing with all those bands, brackets, and wires on your teeth, the job isn’t that difficult to do if you use the right tools and techniques! If you have any questions, just give us a shout and we’ll gladly answer them!

    If you’re not yet in treatment but are interested in getting a straight and beautiful smile with braces or Invisalign, we welcome you to Charlottesville Orthodontics! To set up a time to visit us for a complimentary orthodontic evaluation, please contact us. With two convenient office locations in Charlottesville and one office in Zion Crossroads, it couldn’t be any easier to achieve your most remarkable smile! We look forward to hearing from you soon!