Cleansing

You would probably never dream of not bathing your body but give less thought to not brushing or flossing your teeth. When you have braces, it is incredibly important that you give as much attention to cleaning the braces as you do to cleaning the rest of your body.

The bands or bonded brackets on braces create small nooks and crannies where food and plaque (an invisible file of bacteria) can hide. If plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth for a long time, it can increase the likelihood of tooth decay. This same process can also cause permanent white lines and spots as enamel is dissolved by the acids.

Because of these problems, it is essential to brush after every meal and snack. You should also clean between your teeth and around each bracket daily. Brushing removes the food and plaque that forms on your teeth. When you brush, use a brush with soft and rounded bristles or a special orthodontic brush and also, use fluoride toothpaste. Look for the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. The Seal is awarded to products that have proven to be effective.

How should I brush with braces?

Start with the outside of the teeth, with the brush at a straight angle. Use circular, vibrating motions.

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Clean the area between the gums and braces by angling the brush down (up for the lower jaw). Keep moving in a small circular motion.

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Clean the rest of the outside of the teeth by angling the brush up (down for the lower jaw).

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Carefully brush the chewing surface of both the upper and lower jaw.

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Finish by brushing the inside of the teeth.

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How should I floss with braces?

Floss at least once a day. The Floss needs to be pulled under the archwire. A floss threader facilitates this. Start by pulling floss through the threader.

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Push the end of the floss threader under the archwire and pull the floss through.

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Pull the floss up between the teeth and gently move it up and down the side of both teeth. Remember to move it up all the way under the gums.

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Pull the floss out and use a different section of it for the next tooth.

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Rinsing

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When you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth carefully with warm water or an antiseptic dental rinse. An antiseptic dental rinse can help minor gum inflammations and irritations from orthodontic appliances. It is used to cleanse canker sores, minor wounds, and other mouth and gum irritations. The utilization of mouth rinse also removes debris, thus enabling a natural healing process to occur.

Interdental Toothbrush

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A Proxabrush is an interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush that you may use to clean underneath and around your wires and braces. Use the Proxabrush gently to avoid damaging your wires. The Proxabrush will help you to clean your braces while maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Interdental Cleaners

Interdental cleaning devices with the ADA Seal of Acceptance are specially shaped brushes or other implements that help remove plaque. They are usually made of wood, plastic or rubber and shaped to help clean between the teeth. They can be particularly useful for people who wear braces or who have trouble handling floss. Discuss the proper use of these devices with your dentist to avoid injuring your gums.

Oral Irrigators

These devices create a focused stream of water to remove particles of food from the surfaces around and between the teeth. They are useful for cleaning hard-to-reach areas and may reduce gingivitis. They are especially helpful for people who have braces. Your dentist will tell you if you can benefit from using this device and provide instruction on proper use. Look for devices bearing the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Fluoride Mouth Rinse

Fluoride with the ADA Seal of Acceptance provides extra protection for your teeth. Is an element that combines with tooth enamel, strengthening it against decay. Fluoride can even repair microscopic cavities by helping mineral incorporate into the teeth. You may want to discuss with your dentist the need for additional fluoride products such as non-prescription mouth rinses for children in your family over the age of 6.

Dental aids can play an important role in cleaning those hard-to-reach areas, but your diligence in daily cleaning is really the key to good oral health. By watching your diet, practicing good oral hygiene and following your dentist instructions, you can be assured that your orthodontic treatment will be a success. Remember, it is even more important that you visit your general dentist every six months for routine cleanings and examination while you have braces.