Avoid these Common Tooth Brushing Mistakes
It’s important to ensure that you are brushing your teeth properly at least twice a day as this is the only way to remove food particles. This lowers the risk of tooth decay and staining, which is often not visible until your braces are removed and it’s too late. Maintaining good oral hygiene during the period that you have braces for, is crucial for the process to be effective.
1. Not Brushing Multiple times throughout the Day
If you’re only brushing your teeth once per day, that’s not enough. You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day, preferably after each meal if possible. However, we know that it can sometimes be tricky to brush your teeth after lunch if you’re out and about. This is where it helps to carry a toothbrush with you. If not, at least rinse your mouth thoroughly after a meal and ensure that you are brushing properly in the morning and evening.
2. Not Updating your Technique for Braces
It takes some adjusting, but brushing your teeth with braces is a different technique to when you don’t have braces. It’s no longer just your teeth and gums that need caring for, but the brackets and wires also need to be cleaned.
To brush your teeth thoroughly, the best practice is to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle under the bracket to brush. Next, hold the brush flat on the face of the bracket to brush and then at a 45 degree agree above the bracket to brush. Give every bracket and every tooth your attention to ensure they’re clean and healthy.
3. Skipping flossing
Always remember to floss. A toothbrush can’t get in between the teeth, where small food particles can sit and harden into plaque. Flossing gets into these tricky to reach spaces and cleans them thoroughly. Be sure to floss properly and get in between every tooth!
4. Not brushing long enough
The standard time for brushing your teeth without braces is at least 2 minutes, this should be longer with braces as you have more elements to clean. If you find that you aren’t sure how long you’re brushing your teeth for, set a timer! You might be surprised at how quick 2 minutes goes for. Alternatively, investing in an electric toothbrush is an easy way to ensure that you are brushing your teeth for the appropriate time.
5. Using the Wrong Toothpaste
We recommend using fluoride toothpaste or gel to brush your teeth. Avoid using whitening or charcoal toothpaste, especially when you have braces on. These can cause more harm than good, especially if it’s a cheap alternative! You should also avoid using toothpaste on your retainer, as this can damage the plastic.
6. Not Replacing Your Toothbrush Often Enough
You should replace your toothbrush once it starts showing signs of wear, or every 3 months, whichever comes first. Worn-out toothbrushes aren’t as effective as an intact toothbrush, so replacing it regularly ensures that your teeth are getting the proper clean that they need. Once you have braces, you’ll most likely find that you wear through your toothbrushes more often due to the brackets and wires. Simply rinsing off your toothbrush isn’t enough to remove bacteria that builds up, so replacing your toothbrush means you aren’t using a toothbrush full of bacteria.