Brushing and Flossing

Brushing & Flossing With Braces

Brushing and flossing are essential components of any good oral hygiene routine to ensure that our teeth are free of food particles and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay. However, without the proper technique, you increase the chance of leaving behind some of that bacteria, which will quickly transform into acid that will eat away at your smile. This risk of tooth decay due to poor brushing and flossing techniques is greater for patients with braces, because it is easier for food particles and bacteria to become caught in the brackets and archwire. 

At the orthodontic office of Dr. Roy Gonzalez, our goal is to ensure that all of our patients achieve the healthiest smile possible. That is why we have put together this guide on proper brushing and flossing technique when wearing braces. 

What Is The Best Way To Brush My Teeth With Braces?

Finding The Right Brush & Toothpaste

Brushing with braces.

Choosing the right toothbrush is the first step to a good brushing routine. We recommend finding a brush that has soft bristles. Bi-level bristles (shorter bristles in  the middle and longer bristles at the edges) can also help. Another option is using an electric toothbrush. We prefer the rotary type rather than the ultra-sonic ones.

For your toothpaste, we recommend using one that contains fluoride, which helps strengthen tooth enamel from decay for a stronger and healthier smile. 

Brushing Technique & Timing 

The proper brushing technique is to move your toothbrush in small, circular motions over the entire surface of your teeth. Since food particles and bacteria often build up around the gums, you should hold your brush at an angle so the bristles face the gums. This will allow the bristles of your brush to clear away those particles without being blocked by the brackets. 

It is recommended that you brush your teeth, utilizing this proper technique, at least two times per day for at least two minutes. The ideal time to brush is after meals, since it will clear away food particles, which left on your teeth will cause cavities, gum disease and decalcification (white marks)

Special Tools To Help With Brushing

Interdental toothbrush.

Even with proper brushing technique, it is possible that some toothbrushes can have difficulty clearing away all of the particles in your teeth and braces. To further bolster your brushing routine, you can use an interdental toothbrush, or proxabrush, which designed to clean hard to reach areas. These brushes have a small set of bristles attached to a thin wire that can easily fit between teeth, braces, and wires to ensure a thorough clean. A water pick is another helpful tool, which uses a small stream of pressurized water to clear away food particles and bacteria from your teeth. 

While both water picks and interdental toothbrushes are helpful at maintaining a clean mouth, neither are suitable as a substitute for consistent and thorough brushing and flossing.    

How To Floss With Braces

It is recommended that you floss at least once per day, which is the same recommendation for those with or without braces. In addition to your regular brushing, flossing ensure that your are cleaning the hard to reach areas in between your teeth and along your gums that the bristles of your toothbrush can’t reach. 

With braces, flossing can be more difficult since the thread can get caught in the brackets or wires and, preventing it from reaching all the way down to your gum line. To fix this, we recommend using a floss threader, which is a special tool that makes it easy to slide the floss through the archwire of your braces. If you need help learning how to properly use your floss threader, Dr. Gonzalez or any of our staff members at our office will be able to help you.  

Using Dye To Highlight Plaque & Debris 

It can be difficult to see the food particles and bacteria that are resting on your teeth or gums since they can often sit just outside of view in a hard to reach spot, or they blend into the natural color of our teeth. For those looking for a visual measure of how effective their oral hygiene routine is, you can use special solution called a “disclosing solution”. The solution contains a special dye that, when applied to your teeth, sticks to food particles and plaque to make them more visible. Whether you see a large or small amount of leftover debris, you will get a better idea of how much you need to improve your oral hygiene routine. To learn more about disclosing solution and where to get it, you can ask Dr. Gonzalez or anyone on our orthodontic staff.  

Contact Us For More Oral Hygiene Tips 

To ensure that your smile is as healthy as possible when you get your braces off, maintaining a comprehensive oral hygiene routine and coming to your regularly scheduled check ups with Dr. Gonzalez are essential. If you have any questions about proper brushing or flossing technique during your orthodontic treatment, just contact us or schedule an appointment at our office and we’ll be happy to assist you. To achieve your best smile, choose the premier orthodontic provider for San Antonio, TX and the surrounding communities, Dr. Roy Gonzalez. We look forward to seeing you in our office soon! 

The office of Dr. Roy Gonzalez, Jr.

  • Dr. Roy Gonzalez, Jr. - 1100 N.W. Loop 410 Suite 560, San Antonio, TX 78213 Phone: 210-344-9295

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