How To Brush Teeth With Braces

By Dr. Tarek O. Zaki, D.D.S.

When you are wearing braces, it’s easier for food particles to get trapped on your teeth in between the wires or around the brackets. That is why it is so important to make sure you brush after every meal. When you can’t brush, make sure you rinse your mouth with water to release some of the food particles that get stuck in your teeth. This blog will discuss step-by-step instructions on how to brush teeth with braces.

How to Brush Teeth With Braces

Plaque, the thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that forms on teeth, can cause gum disease and cavities. When you have braces, plaque can also cause discoloration to the teeth beneath the brackets if the teeth aren’t taken care of. That is why, it is especially important to make sure patients who have braces are brushing and flossing thoroughly after every meal.

Tips when you brush:

  • Use a soft bristled toothbrush.
  • Use a toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Do not use a toothpaste with whitening as it may cause discoloration when the braces are removed.
  • Slant the brush bristles to dislodge the food particles and plaque.
  • Don’t brush too hard; apply medium pressure.
  • Use warm water.

Step-by-step instructions on how to brush teeth with braces:

Step 1:Start with a clean toothbrush.

Step 2:Wet the brush and apply a pea-size drop of fluoride toothpaste.

Step 3:Direct the bristles from the gum side towards the teeth such that some of the bristles can go between te braces and the teeth.  Use a slight back and forth motion to dislodge the food and plaque between the teeth and under the braces. Be sure to reach the far teeth in the back of your mouth.

Step 4: Now brush your upper teeth. First face your bristles downward, brushing the topside of your braces and then flip the toothbrush to brush the underside of your braces. Brush the chewing surfaces of your top teeth and make sure to brush the back teeth thoroughly.

Step 5: Brush the inner surfaces of your teeth on both the top and bottom jaws by using up and down, back and forth and circular motions.

Step 6: Face your toothbrush directly toward your teeth and brackets and begin brushing in a circular motion. Divide each arch into three sections:  back left, back right, and front section. Spend 10 seconds on each section.

Step 7:Brush your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Step 8: Rinse your mouth with water to get rid of any loosened particles.

Brush your appliances

If you have any removable dental appliances, such as retainers, they should be brushed once a day. Food particles will accumulate on your appliances just as they do on your teeth. Brush over the appliance thoroughly and then use a denture-cleaning tablet such as Polident or Efferdent. To use a denture-cleaning tablet, dissolve the tablet in a glass of room temperature tap water and soak your appliance. The denture-cleaning tablet will prevent plaque and bacteria from accumulating and your appliance will taste better.

Note that your toothbrush is likely to wear out faster with your braces and appliances, so make sure to replace your toothbrush often.

Continue your normal dental care routines

In addition to brushing your teeth you will need to visit your dentist every six months for your regular cleanings. Your dentist will help you remove plaque that builds up on the teeth in areas your toothbrush can’t reach.

In the next blog we will explain step-by-step instructions on how to floss with braces.

Dr. Zaki is an experienced and educated orthodontist serving patients in Virginia Beach VA and surrounding cities. For questions about caring for your braces feel free to give us a call at 757-416-1100, or ask us a question on Facebook by clicking here.