The best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile is by brushing you teeth and flossing your teeth. Food particles and plaque can accumulate on teeth and in-between braces, and over time cause the teeth to decay. The bacteria present in our mouth breakdown the sugars/carbohydrates into acids which demineralize the tooth structure, which in turn leads to cavity formation. In addition to causing cavities, these bacterial organisms promote gum disease and eventual loss of teeth. To avoid these problems during and after Orthodontic treatment, take special care of your teeth, gums and braces to ensure a beautiful smile and healthy mouth.
Always use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a pea-sized amount of fluoride containing toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, between braces and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush upwards for the lower teeth, downwards on the upper teeth and the outside, inside of each tooth and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Also brush your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
Especially during orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth after every meal to prevent the accumulation of food particles in between your teeth and braces:
- Morning’s after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After supper
- At bedtime
You will need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your appliances. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. It may be difficult for your toothbrush to reach some areas under your archwire. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash and fluoride treatment throughout your orthodontic treatment and beyond for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day.
Use the reusable floss threader provided by our office to floss under your archwire daily (you can also find floss picks at your local grocery store and most pharmacy’s for convenience of flossing). Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth.. Use care around your archwire and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it. After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between your other teeth and gums. Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little.
A water pick is like a pressure water sprayer for your teeth and gums. Water picks can also be found at your local grocery stores and most pharmacy’s. Water picks help cleans your teeth thoroughly and makes it a lot easier, and faster to get to hard to reach spots when used along with brushing. All while massaging your gums to help prevent and ease sore, swollen, and bleeding gums.
All orthodontic patients must get cleanings prior to getting braces and follow up cleanings every 3 to 6 months. Don’t forget to keep your smile healthy, white, and shiny!!!