Good oral hygiene is one of the most important aspects of successful orthodontic treatment. To make sure you always have a clean and healthy smile, brush and floss your teeth regularly. When food particles accumulate between your teeth or in you braces, plaque quickly forms, fostering bacteria that leads to gum disease, tooth decay and in severe cases, the loss of teeth. To avoid these issues while wearing braces, pay careful attention to your braces, teeth, and gums.
Brushing your teeth is the foundation of excellent oral hygiene, and it’s the best way to make sure that your orthodontic treatment is successful. For the best results, Dr. A recommends brushing your teeth with the Crest®/Oral-B® Professional SmartSeries 5000 four times daily – after breakfast, after lunch or school, after dinner and before bed. If you don’t have the recommended toothbrush, use one with soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste, always brushing in small, circular motions to loosen food particles that may be under your gum line. To make sure you cover the whole area, keep your toothbrush at an angle and brush between your teeth, braces and the surface of each tooth for several minutes. Additionally, brush upwards on lower teeth, downwards on upper teeth, around the outside and brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Don’t swallow your toothpaste instead rinse your mouth with water after you’ve finished brushing.
Your toothbrush is only as effective as its bristles. For that reason, for optimal oral hygiene, replace your toothbrush as soon as the bristles start to fray. When a toothbrush is not in the best condition, it’s hard for it to get into the hard-to-reach areas under the wires of your braces. Furthermore, it is important to complement your brushing with flossing, an antibacterial mouthwash and a fluoride treatment throughout your orthodontic care.
Flossing should go hand in hand with brushing to maximize your oral health and the success of your orthodontic treatment program. For those areas between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, it’s important that you remove food particles and plaque by flossing. It is important that you floss every day, both morning and night, especially when you have braces.
Using a reusable floss threader, floss under your braces archwire daily, both in the morning and at night. To use the threader effectively, pull a small strand of floss through the threader, sliding it up and down the front of each tooth. You’ll know you’re done when you hear the floss “squeak” against your clean teeth. When flossing in and around your archwire, be careful not to apply too much pressure. When you’re done, floss between your remaining teeth and gums. If you don’t have a floss threader, wrap a small length of floss around your middle fingers. With both hands, guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Slowly unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, being careful to reach your back teeth, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end. When you first begin flossing around your braces, you might notice a little bleeding around your gums. The bleeding should go away after the first few times, but if it doesn’t, simply advise Dr. A during your next visit.
If you want to straighten your teeth, brushing and flossing are vitally important to your successful orthodontic treatment.