Best practices, as suggested by orthodontists.
Dental care for people with braces is a little more complicated than just your usual brushing rituals. Here is a breakdown of the routines and tricks that will ensure your teeth stay healthy while wearing braces.
In-depth: what changed
Now that you have braces, there are three new things happening in your mouth that you need to know about.
First, there is a metal wire running over your teeth with fixed attachment points. With this wire, there is a lot more complication around your teeth. There are a lot of new nooks, crannies and tight spaces which are ideal for tiny bits of food and bacteria to get stuck in. So we’ll need to clean these places thoroughly.
Then, there is sensitivity. In orthodontic treatments, we tend to move the teeth around, and at first you may experience increased sensitivity. So you’ll need to adjust your cleaning and eating habits while your teeth are sensitive. Some people will even need to switch to smooth and liquid foods for a time – that’s normal. As for cleaning, soft brush heads are an absolute must.
Finally, wearing braces can put a strain on your gums, so taking care of those is also essential. We need to make sure the gums are not only properly cleaned, but also massaged for optimal blood flow.
Cleaning the braces and the teeth
When wearing braces, you’ll need to pay more attention to cleaning your teeth. Here is a step-by-step guide for best results.
In brief: proper daily braces care
- Use a special ortho toothbrush with soft bristles (like Hydrosonic pro or CS 5460 Ortho)
- Brush with a single-tuft brush (like Curaproox CS 708 or CS 1006)
- Clean interdental spaces and spaces around braces. You will need three types of interdental brushes:
• CPS Prime for interdental space,
• cone-shaped CPS 14 for ribbon retainers and inner wires,
• CPS 18 for areas under outer wires.
Step 1: General brushing
Use a Hydrosonic brush or a CS 5460 Ortho to clean away most of the bacteria. The Hydrosonic brush is extremely efficient and fast, making it an ideal choice. If this is unavailable, go with a CS 5460 Ortho: it is efficient, soft and tailored to the shape of braces.
With Hydrosonic pro: place the vibrating brush head softly on the gumline for 2–3 seconds while the brush is active. Move slowly in small circles. Repeat for every tooth, front and back. Make sure you cover parts of the gum, too. The Hydrosonic brush will do the work all by itself: it creates a high-frequency pulse that is extremely effective at cleaning out the plaque and bacteria.
With CS 5460 Ortho: place the brush head at a 45º angle towards your gum line – half on your teeth, half on your gums. Use soft circular motions; avoid horizontal strokes. The brush head is equipped with 5,460 soft bristles that do a very good job of cleaning your teeth, just make sure you pay enough attention to each tooth and do not apply too much pressure.
Step 2: Interdentals
Conventional toothbrushes are not enough. Braces make your teeth move, and where there is movement, there will be a change in your interdental spaces. Bacteria can now find ways into new spaces between your teeth and sit there, very well protected, inaccessible to both manual and electric toothbrushes.
To clean out these spaces between your teeth, you’ll need interdental brushes like the Curaprox CPS brushes: they are gentle, easy to use and safe for your teeth and gums.
First, have your interdental space measured by a dental professional. You can ask your orthodontist or your dentist to do that. Once measured, you’ll have a teeth chart that will tell you the sizes of your interdental spaces, and you’ll be instructed on how to use the interdental brushes.
Next, using the right size of the CPS brush, gently push the brush into the interdental space, near to your gums, and pull out. One in-and-out motion is enough. Repeat for all other teeth. Covering all your interdental spaces will take less than 2 minutes.
Step 3: Precision brushing
To clean out the areas around the brackets of your braces, and the brackets themselves, you will need a special tool – a single toothbrush. These brushes provide a precise and concentrated effort. At Curaprox we offer two kinds of single brushes depending on your braces type.
For classic braces, use the Curaprox CS 1006. This brush has a single tuft of bristles that are very soft and very dense, which is ideal for cleaning out the harder-to-reach areas. Gently place the brush head on the braces and with soft, circular motions, clean around the wire and brackets. Do not push hard; let the bristles do their job.
If you have lingual braces or retainers, we recommend the Curaprox CS 708. Thanks to its flexible handle, the head can be easily bent, providing you with a perfect cleaning angle.
Step 4: Under the wire
The wire needs cleaning too. When you brushed earlier, you covered parts of the wire that face outwards. Now let’s tackle the parts that face inwards.
Use Curaprox CPS 14 for inner wires and retainers: put the brush between the teeth and the wire, and make one in-and-out movement. Proceed to the next tooth.
Use Curaprox CPS 18 for outer wires. The same way, put the brush between the teeth and the wire, make a single in-and-out movement, and proceed to the next tooth. You will have covered all the spaces in no time!
Tip 1: Ortho wax
If your braces are uncomfortable and scratch the inner parts of your mouth, get a pack of ortho wax. Warm up small amounts of the wax in your hand, and stick them over the parts of the braces that make your mouth feel uncomfortable. The wax will protect your mouth and prevent the braces from scratching. It is safe for both your braces and your mouth.
Tip 2: A gentler clean
It is generally a good idea to use toothbrushes with high-density soft bristles. Even without braces, these aids ensure more efficient cleaning and less damage to teeth and gums.
With braces, this is especially important. At the early stages of ortho treatment, your teeth and gums will become extra sensitive, so using softer brushes is a must.
How to identify a quality soft brush:
- The packaging will state that this brush is ‘Soft’ or ‘Ultrasoft’. We suggest you try both at some point to see which works better in your case. Your dentist or orthodontist can also help you choose the right one.
The most common over-the-counter brush is ‘Medium’, so you’ll have no problem identifying a soft or ultrasoft brush from the rest.
- Some manufacturers put the number of bristles on the packaging as well. Go for the highest count you can get. 5,460 is a standard bristle count in Curaprox brushes, and it is unmatched by many industry standards: the CS 5460 Ortho is a truly dense, soft and highly efficient cleaning aid.
- The 45° angle at which the brush head touches the gum line is also important. Look for the brushes that enable this correct angle more easily. For example, thanks to the octagonal shape of the Curaprox toothbrush handle, one can easily find the desired 45° angle.
As you brush your teeth with softer brushes, remember not to push on the teeth too hard to avoid scratching your enamel and gums. Even though you are using softer aids, you can still do some damage with too much pressure. A hydrosonic brush requires absolutely no pressure while cleaning.
Tip 3: Taking care of the gums
Finally, make sure your gums are properly massaged and stimulated when you brush. To achieve that, place the brush head halfway over the tooth and halfway over the gum, and stroke in small circular motions, without applying too much pressure. If you are using a Hydrosonic brush, no pressure is required at all.
If you experience bleeding, make sure you don’t press too much. If bleeding persists, consult a dental professional, as it might be a sign of gum inflammation.
When brushing is done properly, your gums will be a pleasant pink color.