Now That I Have Braces, How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?


Braces can help you have that beautiful, straight teeth smile you’ve dreamed of, but you will need to practice good oral hygiene to keep your mouth healthy. Orthodontic treatment is most successful when paired with proper oral hygiene. It may take a little more time and effort than you are used to, but the end results will definitely be worth the extra work. Once the braces come off, you and those around you will notice that beautiful, healthy smile right away!

Plaque is a problem. Every day, plaque forms in your mouth, but with thorough cleanings several times a day, you can remove it. When you have braces, removing plaque is even more important because the wires give the plaque more places to hide in your mouth. Saliva, food, and bacteria combine to create the plaque that will deposit on the brackets of your braces, and if not removed, it can cause various dental problems, such as halitosis (bad breath), cavities, swollen gums and teeth staining.

How do I clean my teeth with braces? At Horner Barrow Orthodontics, we have many teenagers ask us this question. You should still brush your teeth for a full two minutes each time you brush. Instead of replacing your toothbrush every three months, you should replace it sooner as the bristles tend to wear out more quickly due to the rougher surfaces of the brackets and wires.

The right toothbrush. Now that your child has braces, you will need to find the right toothbrush. You can still use a regular toothbrush, but there are different toothbrushes designed specifically for people with braces. These toothbrushes make it easier to clean around the wires and brackets, reaching those hidden places where plaque forms. When searching for toothbrushes that are more effective at cleaning around braces, keep these points in mind:
• Interdental toothbrushes. This is the best type of brush to use because it has an angled head and brush that fits around the braces with ease. Most of these cleaning instruments come with a replaceable brush that is triangular and can reach all sides of the teeth.
• Regular toothbrushes. If you choose this option, the bristles will need to be angled up as you brush upwards and downwards in order to clean the teeth thoroughly over the braces.
• Electric toothbrushes. The bristles can get caught in the braces, which will cause this cleaning instrument to wear down. This also makes an electric or sonic toothbrush hard to maneuver in your mouth due to the braces.

So, how often to brush? Now that you have braces, start brushing your teeth after every meal. If you are unable to brush, make a point to rinse your mouth with water. Thoroughly swish the water around your mouth before spitting it out. It is a good idea to take a travel toothbrush with you to help you clean your braces.

Practice good oral hygiene. Having braces will not damage your teeth, but poor oral hygiene can. This is why we stress to all of our orthodontic patients at our Sioux Falls, SD office, the importance of brushing and flossing their teeth properly with braces. Maintaining good oral hygiene will enhance the wonderful benefits of orthodontic treatment!

At Horner Barrow Orthodontics, Dr. Kevin Horner, Dr. Keri Barrow, and the entire staff are committed to delivering excellent quality orthodontic treatment to each and every one of our patients. To provide a friendly, caring, and pleasant atmosphere that will ensure our patients feel relaxed and confident about placing their orthodontic care in our hands.