Brushing and flossing is the only way to assure a clean and healthy smile while you are in braces. The accumulation of food particles on the teeth and braces over time causes the formation of plaque. Bacterial activity, which is triggered by plaque, can result in tooth decay, gum disease and in some cases, loss of teeth. To prevent these problems, it is advisable to take excellent care of your braces, teeth and gums for the best possible results.
Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment ought to brush their teeth four times daily, in order to reduce plaque accumulation around the teeth and braces. Below are the most ideal times to brush your teeth:
Get a toothbrush that has soft bristles, and use an amount of toothpaste equal to about the size of a pea. As you brush your teeth, move your brush in small, circular movements to scrape off food particles that might be hiding underneath the gum line and around the braces. Hold your toothbrush at an angle and use gentle and repetitive motion so that the areas between the braces, teeth and the surface of each tooth are cleaned. You will require a minimum of five minutes to clean the entire mouth. Remember to brush the cusps of your lower and upper teeth, as well as the inside, outside and chewing surfaces of your back and front teeth. Don’t forget to brush the roof of your mouth and tongue before rinsing with water.
In addition, it is important to replace your toothbrush on a more regular basis. Old toothbrushes cannot reach certain areas under the orthodontic wire. Hence, the moment the bristles of your toothbrush start wearing down or falling off, simply discard the brush and get a new one.
Dental floss helps to remove plaque and food particles in between the teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach. If you are wearing braces, you will need to ensure that it is done at least once every day.
A floss threader is an excellent tool to help you floss underneath the wire on a daily basis. Pull a small length of floss from your dispenser through the hole of a floss threader and slide it under the wire between each tooth. You will notice the difference when the tooth is clean and hear a squeaking sound of the floss rubbing against the cleaned surfaces of teeth. The best time to floss your teeth is in the evening before bed-time. Please be gentle when flossing around your wires – do not use too much force or apply too much pressure.
If you have any questions or need help with brushing or flossing, just give us a call or ask us at your next visit. We will be happy to help you and demonstrate the technique with little tips and tricks!