There are many questions that an orthodontic patient may have when considering braces.  One of those questions we are often asked at Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics, is Do I need to brush My Teeth more often, if I have braces?  This is an excellent question!   There are many things to think about when you get your braces on, and this question is super important!   

When you get your braces placed, it is VERY important to brush your teeth at least two times per day or even three times per day if possible! The reason is because with braces on your teeth, there are lots of extra hiding places for food and bacteria, since the patient has wires and braces on the teeth now.  Many children and teenagers have a difficult enough time keeping their teeth clean “without” braces on their teeth, so when they “do” actually have braces on their teeth, it becomes even more challenging to keep their teeth clean, but it is VERY important to do so.   

While in braces, it is very imperative to continue to visit your dentist for cleanings every six months; However, for some adult patients who might struggle with hygiene, the doctor will often recommend seeing their general dentist every three to four months instead of the usual six-month visits to help guard against cavities. These are usually patients with periodontal issues. So, when asking Do I need to Brush my teeth more often if I have braces, it varies from patient to patient depending on how well the patient brushes their teeth and on certain conditions the patient may have. Our patients often ask us if the dentist can do a cleaning with braces on their teeth and the answer is yes!  A lot of people wear braces on their teeth, so dentists and dental hygienists are very used to cleaning around braces. It is very important that patients in braces get their normal cleanings. Our doctors will keep a good eye on your dental hygiene and will let you know if there are any problems with keeping the teeth clean.  

One key reason to keep your teeth clean and that our orthodontists at Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics want all patients to know when asking Do I need to Brush my teeth more often if I have braces is something called decalcification. Let’s talk about decalcification or “decal” in detail.  Decalcification usually appears as white, chalky marks on the surface of the teeth. This is usually the result of plaque sticking to the tooth over a period of time. When this plaque is sitting on the enamel for a long time, the bacteria in the person’s mouth will use the sugar from your diet to form an acid. This acid is what will begin to weaken or dissolve the tooth enamel which causes the white decalcification spots on a tooth. When wearing braces, it is easier to experience decalcification on your teeth if the patient is not brushing often and properly. Tooth decalcification looks unsightly and if not treated can lead to infection.  

So, “How can you prevent decal on your teeth?” is often another question we are asked as well as “Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces”. There are several things that can be done by the patient to prevent decal on the teeth. The number one thing is to make sure to brush and floss well in order to remove all plaque from the teeth. Also, try to reduce the amount of sugary drinks and candy that is consumed. Fruit juices contain a lot of sugar, so it is important to drink fruit juice in moderation. Another great tip is to rinse your mouth out with water after eating any sugary foods. Brushing regularly certainly does help guard against decal! If a patient does get decal on their teeth, only a dental professional can remove these white spots. Then a dental restoration would need to be done to remove the decal lesion and mask it with a tooth-colored filling called a composite. They will try using scaling instruments that are designed to remove the tartar build up and plaque. If these white spots cannot be removed by scaling, then you might require a special filling called a composite. However, you can decrease the chances of getting decal quite a bit by getting your cleanings regularly at your dentist and practicing excellent oral hygiene and flossing regularly, especially while in braces. So, the answer to this question: Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces is a definite YES, especially to help prevent decalcification on the teeth! 

At Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics, our doctors recommend using an electric toothbrush if possible. There is a fine balance between brushing well and brushing too hard. A lot of adults, especially, tend to brush too hard thinking they are brushing their teeth really well. However, you can brush too hard and cause gum recession. So, that is why using an electric toothbrush can really help out. When using an electric toothbrush, all the patient has to do is hold the toothbrush on their tooth and let the electric toothbrush do all the work or the action. You never want to brush your teeth in a saw-like motion. When you brush in a saw-like motion on your teeth and gums, you can cause recession of your gums, which is not good. So, using the electric toothbrush helps minimize this saw-like motion because the toothbrush is doing all the work for you. All the user needs to do is move their wrists only and the toothbrush does the rest! If a regular toothbrush is preferred, it needs to be a soft toothbrush and never a hard one! The patient needs to brush in small circles on each tooth and never brush in a saw-like motion! 

Overall, anytime a patient asks: Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces, the answer is YES!  A patient with braces needs to brush their teeth at least two times per day both morning and night.  However, it is highly recommended to brush after each meal and to floss as often as needed to remove particles of food that get trapped between the wires and your gums.  It is also imperative to go to your dentist for your regularly scheduled cleanings at least twice a year. It is very important to keep your teeth free of food particles and plaque while in braces.  Yes, the patient in braces will spend about three times longer on their oral hygiene than one without braces, but it will be well worth it in the end to have a gorgeous and healthy Hollywood Smile! 

If you are ready to begin your braces or Invisalign journey, please call our office at 972-529-9700 to make your complimentary exam or click here to schedule online. We look forward to seeing you soon to give you the smile you’ve been waiting for!