Brushing & Flossing

The best way to make sure you have an amazing smile is to brush and floss your teeth well every day. Patients wearing braces have a greater tendency to collect food and plaque on their teeth.  If left uncontrolled, this accumulation can lead to permanent discoloration and spotting of the teeth, gum disease, tooth decay and even loss of teeth. If the gums swell, it also takes longer to straighten the teeth.  To avoid these problems and make sure you have a healthy, white smile, use the instructions below to take great care of your teeth.

Brushing

The day your braces are placed, you will receive a kit with all the supplies you need to take care of your teeth. On that day, we will show you how to use each item in your kit.  We will also give you a grade on your brushing and flossing at each adjustment visit so you will know how you’re doing.  If you ever have any questions, please let us know!  It is best to use a toothbrush with soft bristles or an electric toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. There are three areas that are frequently missed when brushing: behind the archwire, behind any hooks that are on the braces, and along the gumline between the braces and the gum tissue. If you miss these areas, you will get marks on your teeth that cannot be removed.

You will need to brush at least three times per day (after meals and before bed) and floss once per day. Replace your toothbrush every three months or as soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray.

Flossing

You must floss once per day to in order to clean the areas between the teeth. A waterpik is also a good adjunct. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but you must floss if you want healthy teeth for a lifetime.

We will show you how to use a reusable floss threader to help you floss under your archwire.  Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Also floss behind all of your back teeth.

It is best to floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little.  If your gums bleed, that area may have gingivitis and it needs to be flossed more frequently until the area is healthy. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment.