Oral Hygiene

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While the purpose of your braces or orthodontic treatment is to straighten your teeth and correct your bite, it is your duty to ensure that you are caring for your teeth properly! We understand that brushing and flossing takes time and can be tricky when trying to brush and floss around orthodontic appliances. In an effort to ensure that our patients have a beautiful smile, we have comprised some clever tips and tricks for brushing. 

Brushing with braces.

For starters, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A toothbrush – a soft-bristle or bi-level toothbrush is recommended. Feel free to use an electric toothbrush, but adjust the level of it to “Moderate” and do not let the plastic part of the brush touch your braces.
  • A fluoride toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • A floss threader

Having these tools at your disposal is important for maintaining a clean and healthy smile.

Brushing Your Teeth Properly

As you probably know, you should brush your teeth at least two times per day for at least two minutes each time. We highly recommend brushing after meals, as this will maximize the efficacy of your brushing! 

When brushing, be sure to cover all tooth surfaces, including the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces. Food is most likely to become trapped between wires and teeth or gums and brackets – be sure to focus on these areas when brushing. 

Here are a few steps that you should follow when brushing with braces:

  1. Place your toothbrush’s bristles against the outside of your teeth. Gently polish these surfaces clean, making small circular motions with your toothbrush.
  2. Tilt your toothbrush towards your gum line, right between the braces and your gums. Continue to brush in circular motions. 
  3. Clean the chewing surfaces of all teeth, using a back-and-forth motion to do so.
  4. Brush the inside part of your teeth, using circular motions or a side-to-side technique. 

If you need further instructions, please watch the informative video above.

Trouble Brushing With Braces?

Interdental toothbrush.

If you are having any trouble brushing your teeth, consider purchasing some special tools that assist with this process. These are not substitutes for brushing and flossing, but instead can be used to supplement your normal routine:

  • Interdental toothbrush/proxabrush – This tool is great if you are having trouble getting to the small spaces under wires and between brackets or bands. An interdental toothbrush looks similar to a pipe cleaner, however it has small bristles that shoot out from the top/sides. 
  • Oral irrigator/water pick – This tool will shoot water at your teeth, which again, can help you get to those hard to reach places. 

Flossing Your Teeth Properly

Floss threader.

As your Lawrence orthodontist, we recommend flossing once per day, at minimum. We highly recommend using a floss threader, as this tool will help you reach under the archwire of your braces. 

To use threader floss, simply pull the floss through the threader, and then pull the threader between your tooth and the corresponding bracket. Pull the floss between your teeth as you normally would, making sure to floss both sides of the tooth. Repeat these steps for each tooth. 

Contact Your Topeka & Lawrence, KS Orthodontist!

If you have any questions regarding the information above, or would like an in-person demonstration of proper brushing and flossing techniques, contact us