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Brushing and flossing are important no matter whether you have braces or not, but when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, your oral hygiene becomes ten times more important. Patients who have the best experiences with braces tend to be those who brush, floss, and use mouth wash throughout their treatment process.

What might happen if you don’t brush or floss as directed?
One of the biggest and most troubling consequences of not brushing and flossing while you have braces is decalcification. This tends to take place on the enamel of the teeth directly around your brackets. Decalcification is essentially the beginning of a cavity, which eats away at the enamel of your teeth and discolors it to be abnormally white. Decalcification is very difficult to correct, which is why it’s so important to brush and floss properly when you have braces.

Flossing With Braces
You may already be wondering how in the world you floss with braces since your archwire goes across all of your teeth. Not to worry – there are ways around your archwire. Yes, flossing with braces is more challenging than flossing without them, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t allow cavities to form in between your teeth over time.

For best results with flossing when you have braces, make sure your floss is waxed. Unwaxed floss is more likely to get caught in your brackets and fray apart. Also, use a lot of floss – about 18 inches should be the right length. Once you’re ready to floss, thread one end of your floss between your archwire and your teeth, then gently slide the floss up and down between your teeth a few times. Do this to floss between all of your teeth before you brush as that will ensure that none of the deposits between your teeth are left behind after you’ve already brushed.

Brushing With Braces
Brushing your teeth with braces is much easier and more thorough with an electric tooth brush. If this is something you’re interested in purchasing, you can ask your orthodontist which brand he or she recommends.

If you choose to continue brushing with a regular tooth brush, it’s important for you to know the technique for properly brushing your teeth with braces. Your orthodontist should show you exactly how to do this, but if you need a reminder or he or she didn’t, follow these steps:

  • Brush at a downward angle across the tops of your brackets and the top part of your teeth.
  • Brush at an upward angle across the bottoms of your brackets and the bottom part of your teeth.
  • Make sure you still brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
  • Make sure you brush behind your teeth.
  • For added clean, brush your tongue.

You can watch videos about how to properly brush your teeth with braces on YouTube if you need more assistance, or ask us when you come in for an appointment.

Mouthwash Or No Mouthwash
Mouthwash is a personal preference for some, but others don’t like it because it tends to have a really strong flavor. Some types of mouthwash feel like they burn your mouth. Though mouthwash isn’t quite as important as brushing and flossing, it is an added step you can take to make sure all of the bacteria in your mouth are taken care of and won’t silently destroy your teeth.

If you don’t like using mouthwash, even rinsing your mouth with water after you brush will help. You can also find recipes for homemade mouthwash online if you’d like to use mouthwash but don’t like to feel your mouth burning.

If you or your child are ready to find out whether you need orthodontic treatment or not, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 914.221.0470 or request your New Patient Evaluation online. If you have additional questions, concerns, or comments, you may want to call us or fill out our online contact form. No matter where you are on your orthodontic journey, we’re here for you, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information. If you’re ready to get started, great! We look forward to meeting you and guiding you on your journey to a healthier, more beautiful smile.

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My three kids teeth look great!Nancy L.
The reviews listed are from actual patients of Stephen L. Herzberg, DDS, PC. Individual results may vary. Reviews are not claimed to represent results for everyone.
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