Oral Hygiene

How to maintain good oral health with braces.

Now that you have braces, it’s as important as ever to maintain good oral hygiene. Braces, wires, bands and retainers can all trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque. Careful brushing and flossing—preferably after every meal and snack—is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease. We’ll explain how to best care for your oral hygiene here in the office, but here are some tips for your reference.

Proper brushing

  • Start with the outside of the teeth, with the brush at a straight angle.

  • Use circular, vibrating motions.

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

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

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

  • Finish by brushing the inside of the teeth.

Flossing

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

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

Rinsing

When you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth carefully with water or an antiseptic dental rinse. An antiseptic dental rinse can help minor gum inflammations and irritations from orthodontic appliances. Also used to cleanse canker sores, minor wounds and other mouth and gum irritations, mouth rinse removes debris, enabling natural healing.

Interdental Toothbrush

An interdental toothbrush is another useful tool for keeping your teeth, braces and gums clean and healthy. It can be used to clean under orthodontic wires and around braces. Be sure to use this device slowly and carefully, so you don’t damage your braces.

Retainer

During the retention phase, it is important to brush your retainer every time you brush your teeth because it can also accumulate food particles and plaque. Once a day, you should soak your retainer in a glass of room-temperature tap water with a denture-cleaning tablet, such as Polident or Efferdent. This will help prevent plaque build-up and oral infections and will keep your retainer tasting better. Do not use hot water as it can distort the appliance.

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