Food particles and plaque naturally accumulate on the teeth and on braces. This process could lead to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Proper oral hygiene is vital to prevent these problems from occurring during your orthodontic treatment. The extra effort you give to keep your teeth, braces and gums clean and healthy will result in a much better orthodontic outcome.
How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces
We recommend that you use a soft bristled toothbrush with moderate force and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Place the toothbrush at an angle so that you feel the bristles under your gum line and use small circular motions. Completely clean each surface of every tooth in your mouth, including the areas above, below and between each brace. Each surface of every tooth should be scrubbed with 10 strokes of the toothbrush. This should take 2-3 minutes. We recommend that you brush at least four times per day: after breakfast, after lunch (or as soon as you get home from school), after supper and at bedtime. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray.
- Use a soft toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste. Completely clean each surface of every tooth in your mouth, including the areas above, below and between each brace.
- Use circular, vibrating motions around the gum line. Scrub each surface of every tooth with 10 strokes of the toothbrush. This should take 2-3 minutes.
- Brush every tooth slowly. Brush the upper teeth down.
- Brush the lower teeth up. Also brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
How To Floss with Braces
Dental floss is a nylon thread that is used to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. Flossing is more difficult when you have braces on your teeth. A floss threader may be needed to get the floss under the archwire. Our staff will provide these for you (note: floss threaders are reusable).
- Use a piece of floss about 12 inches long.
- Use the floss threader to get the floss under the wire.
- Slide the floss up and down along the tooth surface.
- When the tooth is clean the floss will “squeak” as you slide it up and down along the tooth surface. Be very careful to not pull with too much force on your archwire.
Daily flossing is essential to your dental health. Often neglected, flossing helps improve the overall health of your teeth and gums. Flossing assists in cleaning many of the “hard to reach” spots in your mouth, spots that regular brushing generally misses. By flossing, you alleviate much of the plaque buildup that often causes gum disease.
Although flossing is more difficult with braces, it is critical to your orthodontic treatment. Always floss at least twice a day: once after lunch, and once before bedtime. Proper flossing reduces the risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay.
1. Carefully pull waxed floss between wire and braces.
2. Floss carefully around the gum area.
An interdental toothbrush (Proxabrush) is another aid you may find useful to keep your teeth, braces and gums clean and healthy. It can be used to clean under orthodontic wires and around braces. Use this device slowly so you do not damage your braces.
Antiseptic Mouth Rinse (Peroxyl)
Peroxyl is an antiseptic dental rinse (active ingredient: hydrogen peroxide 1.5%) used in orthodontics to control minor gum inflammation and irritations from orthodontic appliances. It is also used to cleanse canker sores and minor wounds or other irritations of the mouth and gums such as mouth burns, cheek bites and toothbrush abrasions. Its oxygenating action removes debris allowing natural healing to occur.
We recommend that you rinse with half a capful (two (2) teaspoons) around in the mouth for at least one (1) minute, then spit out. Use up to four (4) times daily after meals and at bedtime while wearing orthodontic appliances.
Topical Fluoride (Phos-flur)
Phos-Flur is a topical fluoride gel (active ingredient: 1.1% sodium fluoride) used in orthodontics as a dental caries preventive. It is not a substitute for tooth paste. Its action is twofold: to re-mineralize tooth enamel which has been exposed to bacterial acids and to act as an antibacterial agent.
We recommend that you apply a thin ribbon of Phos-Flur Gel to the teeth with a toothbrush for at least one (1) minute at bedtime, then spit out. Drinking and eating are not recommended for thirty (30) minutes after using Phos-Flur, since doing so will dilute or rinse away the active ingredient.
Cleaning a Removable Appliance
All orthodontic appliances tend to accumulate food particles and plaque just like teeth do. Every time you brush your teeth, brush your removable appliance. Once a day you should soak your appliance in a glass of room temperature tap water with Retainer Brite cleaning tablets denture-cleaning tablets. This will help prevent plaque buildup and oral infections and will keep your appliance tasting better.