The best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile is brushing and flossing. Food particles can accumulate on teeth and in braces, and, over time, turn into plaque. The bacteria that results from this accumulation can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even loss of teeth. To avoid these problems while you are in orthodontic treatment, take special care of your braces, teeth and gums to ensure you will get the best possible result.
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a fluoride 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 up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse. While in treatment, it is very important that you look at your teeth and braces to make sure they are clean.
Please brush your teeth at least three times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces:
- When you wake up
- Right after school or work
- At bedtime
You will need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your braces. 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 orthdontic treatment and beyond for optimal oral hygiene. If unable to brush, rinse vigorously with water.
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. 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.
When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment.
The waterpik is a very valuable tool in maintaining good oral hygiene by removing food particles and stimulating/massaging the gums. However, it is not a substitute for good brushing and flossing.