Preventive Dental Care
in Boerne, TX
Everyone deserves a smile they truly feel proud to show off, and at Boerne Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, our mission is to help patients throughout Boerne, Fair Oaks, and the surrounding areas achieve one. As a leading pediatric dental and orthodontic practice, we’re proud to offer comprehensive dental services to our patients, and we take a comprehensive approach to ensuring kids achieve a great smile through comprehensive preventive dental care, pediatric dental treatment, and orthodontic treatments like braces. But as important as our in-office treatments are, your own at-home oral hygiene is equally vital to achieving a great smile – and here’s how to maintain proper oral hygiene while wearing braces.
How to Brush
Your Teeth with Braces
Brushing is a cornerstone of oral hygiene, and while it’s a similar process with braces, there are a couple of special things you should keep in mind. Start with either a soft-bristle or bi-level toothbrush for best results, and if you’re using an electric brush, just make sure to keep it to a moderate setting and avoid letting the back of the brush hit your braces.
You should brush your teeth between 2 to 4 times per day, ideally anytime after you eat something and once before bed. When brushing, make sure to cover every exposed area of the teeth and braces: the front of the teeth, the back, and around brackets and wires. Food can get trapped anywhere, so it’s critical to clean as thoroughly as you can.
Our suggested brushing technique is as follows:
- Start by brushing the outsides of the teeth, placing the bristles flat on the teeth and using small circular motions.
- Tilt the brush towards the gumline to get the spaces between teeth and braces.
- Next, brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth using a firm back and forth motion.
- Finish brushing by cleaning and polishing the inside (tongue-side) surfaces of the teeth, using the same technique you did for the outside. Make sure to thoroughly brush your rear molars, as well as the back surface of your final rear molar – that’s an easy space to miss and is just as vulnerable to plaque buildup.
Floss with Braces
The next step to maintaining proper oral hygiene is flossing once per day, and while wearing braces, this process gets a little more complicated. To floss underneath your braces, you’ll need the help of a floss threader: a plastic, loop-shaped tool with one long end that lets you thread floss underneath your archwire. To use it, get a length of floss and thread it through the “eye” of the loop on the floss threader, then carefully pass the long end of the threader underneath the archwire between two teeth. Use the threader to pull the floss through until it’s sitting under the archwire, then floss as normal. Repeat this process for every gap between the teeth and you’re on your way to healthy, strong teeth!
Brushing with Braces
In addition to brushing and flossing, there are a few other specialized tools you can use to improve your oral hygiene and ensure you prevent cavities during orthodontic treatment. While they aren’t absolutely necessary, many patients find these tools helpful for maintaining good oral hygiene while wearing braces:
- Interdental Toothbrush: This small, pine tree-shaped device has a small tuft of bristles sticking out in a conical shape, similar to a pipe cleaner. It’s great for dislodging food from brackets, and its small size makes it easy to carry with you anywhere.
- Oral Irrigator: Also called a water pick, this devices uses a pressurized stream of water to clean food and bacteria from the nooks and crannies in the teeth. It isn’t a substitute for flossing, but in combination with the rest of your oral hygiene regimen, it can be helpful in keeping teeth clean and healthy.