When you have braces, there are a few things you need to know about keeping your teeth and orthodontic appliances clean. As your orthodontic team, our job is to create a comfortable, stress-free, and rewarding orthodontic experience throughout this new journey. A healthy balanced diet, excellent oral hygiene and continuing your regular check-ups and cleanings with your Dentist will get you on a great path to achieving a heatlhy, beautiful and functional smile.
With the use of orthodontic appliances there are many nooks and crannies that can easily trap food and debris. Therefore patients undergoing orthodontic treatment may have a higher risk of accumulating plaque, developing white spots, cavities, and bad breath. Inflamed, bleeding gums (gingivitis) are the early stages of tooth decay and if left untreated, bigger problems can arise and have lifelong effects. These are some of the reasons why it is important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment.
Brush your teeth for two minutes after every meal with a soft-bristled, small-headed toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. As an alternative, you can use a powered toothbrush to increase your brushing effectiveness. Brush the outside and inside surfaces of your teeth using small, gentle, circular motions while positioning the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Brush your teeth’s chewing surfaces and the inside surface of your front teeth using short, gentle, back-and-forth motions. Pay close attention to the areas around your brackets or other appliances.
Flossing with Braces
Flossing after every meal will help keep your teeth and braces clean. To floss with braces, Flossthreaders can be used like a needle and a thread: Pulling one end of floss through the threader, holding onto both ends of the floss; push the threader thru (carrying with it the free end of the floss) under the archwire. Now you should be able to floss properly. Finally, when done flossing, pull the floss out and use a new section of floss for the next area with the threader.
Another very helpful and even easier tool to use when flossing is called the Superfloss.
Although nothing can ever replace old fashion flossing; other hygiene products such as Oral Irrigators can be used as water picks; shooting a small stream of pressurized water at your teeth, which can also help dislodge food that can become trapped around orthodontic appliances and gums.
Flossing with a Permanent Retainer
Permanent/fixed retainers are used to hold teeth in their proper position and avoid teeth from shifting. Patients with fixed retainers must use floss threaders to pass dental floss through the small spaces between the retainer and teeth as see in the video below:
Other Recommended Oral Hygiene Products
For trouble-hard to reach areas, brushes such as proxybrushes and other small like bristles can be used to carefully clean tiny spaces under wires and around brackets and bands.
Antiseptic mouthwashes can be used to fight and kill bacteria on and around the gum line and reduce chances of developing gingivitis. Look for mouthwashes with antibacterial or antimicrobial ingredients.
Mouthwashes that contain fluoride are very beneficial and help protect development of cavities. Fluoride can make teeth more resistant to acid that forms from plaque, bacteria and sugars in the mouth.
All of these Oral Hygiene Products can be found at any of your nearby pharmacies or grocery stores. If you need any help or question please ask us and we’d be more than happy to assist you.