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Do you have braces? Do you ever question if you should get your teeth cleaned while you have braces? What we’ve found is that this question, is actually two separate questions. First, what is the proper technique to use when brushing teeth that have braces? Second, when I have braces what precautions do I need to take before I go to the dentist?

When it comes to your daily routine of brushing your teeth, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you have braces. One of the most common mistakes that we see with people who have braces is a desire to use big brush strokes.  Whether they do this to speed up the process or because they don’t think they need to be as careful is still a mystery! While braces are quite secure, aggressive brushing can loosen the brackets, especially if it is affixed to the front of a tooth. Second, large brushstrokes tend to damage gums. When you have braces, you should be especially gentile and meticulous. Take an additional 30 seconds to brush all of the nooks and crannies inherent to braces. Keep your brush at a 45° angle and stick with soft-bristled toothbrushes. There is also a special tool you can use called the proxabrush.  This unique toothbrush looks a lot like a pipe cleaner and is marvelous at cleaning the space underneath a wire and directly adjacent to a brace. You might also want to try using a water pick (oral irrigator) that squirts pressurized water into hard to reach places.

When you have braces, don’t neglect flossing! The tight spaces braces can create are ideal for the buildup of plaque and tartar. Combining brushing, flossing and a good mouth wash can do a lot remove plaque in these hard to reach places. When you floss, you will want to use a floss threader. The floss threader does exactly what its name implies; it allows you to thread the floss between braces and easily reach spots underneath any wires.

Finally, don’t neglect your regular dental visits. We have all sorts of tips and tricks up our sleeve to ensure that any part of a tooth that is accessible, we can reach. You do not have to do anything special with your braces like removing wires. If you wear head gear, it is okay to take it off and you will need to take it off for your dental appointment. The same thing can go for any rubber bands you use.

One of the main advantages of going to the dentist while you have braces is that the dentist and their team offer fresh sets of eyes on your teeth. If the dentist sees something that isn’t quite right, the information can be quickly relayed to your orthodontist and many major problems can be prevented before they happen.  Before you get braces, have a conversation with your dentist and make sure your dentist knows who your orthodontist is and that you have an easy way to transfer important pieces of information.