Braces trap food very easily which promotes plaque formation. Plaque can lead to gum disease and enamel damage. With the daily use of effective oral hygiene techniques, plaque build-up can be prevented. The foundation of good oral hygiene is effective brushing. This is done with a fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Brushing should be done after every meal and snack and should be done slowly and carefully. It is important to not only brush the braces but also brush both the inside and chewing surfaces of the teeth.
The Three Steps to Effective Brushing
- Holding the brush straight against the braces, move the brush in small circles 10 times.
- Then holding the brush at an angle toward the chewing surface, move the brush in small circles 10 times.
- The step most patients miss but is one of the most important is to hold the brush at an angle towards the gums. Gently vibrate the brush in small circles 10 more times. Don’t forget to brush the backs of your teeth as well.
Flossing with Braces
Flossing should be done once a day. A great way to get the floss under the archwire is to use superfloss. One end is stiffer and can be thread under the wire and the other end can be used for flossing. Another way to help get the floss under the archwire is to use a floss threader. The floss should form a “c” around the tooth and then be moved up and down along the sides of the teeth and under the gum line to remove the plaque.
Other Helpful Tools
Some other helpful tools to keep your mouth healthy while in treatment are to use a proxy brush, which looks like a pipe cleaner, under the archwire, and between the braces.
A sulca brush or end tuft brush may also be helpful in the smaller, hard-to-reach areas.
Be sure to talk to Dr. Mansour or the staff for other helpful tips on how to prevent permanent marks, cavities, or gum infections while you’re wearing your braces.