Brushing with Braces
Orthodontic therapy increases the demand on your oral hygiene efforts. It is easy for plaque to get in between and around braces, permanent retainers, bite plates and removable appliances. The bacterium found in dental plaque produce strong acids that can scar your teeth permanently and produce cavities. Poor oral hygiene allows plaque to build up under and around your braces. You probably won’t notice these scars and cavities until after your braces are removed.
You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food compacts in the brackets and between your teeth, and can only be removed by brushing and flossing.
If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it could lead to tooth decay, permanent markings on the teeth, (decalcification) and gum disease.
You should brush after each meal and before bed. You MUST brush, at least, after breakfast and before bed.
Spend the time needed to get the job done. (A three-minute egg timer can be very helpful.)
Be thorough. Brush each surface of every tooth, your gums and your braces.
Check in a mirror while brushing to ensure that you are doing a good job. Check particularly the little half moon spaces between your braces and gums. These areas are most susceptible to problems.
REMEMBER, IT IS NOT THE METHOD OF BRUSHING THAT IS ALL IMPORTANT, BUT THE END RESULT. WE WANT A PERFECTLY CLEAN MOUTH.
Floss Your Teeth
At least once a day is essential.
Flossing is the best way to remove plaque from the side surfaces of your teeth. Swelling of the gum tissue can be prevented and reversed by daily flossing and toothbrush stimulation. Please note that swollen gums act as a barrier to tooth movement and will slow your orthodontic progress. Some orthodontic movements are impossible to achieve when the gums are inflamed.
Electric toothbrushes (e.g. Interplak; Braun/Oral-B; Sonicare), if used correctly, may be more efficient.
Water Piks can be helpful in removing food particles that are difficult to reach but are NOT a substitute for brushing.
Dr. Gorin recommends the use of a fluoride rinse to harden the tooth’s surface, thereby making it less vulnerable to the effects of plaque-produced acids. Made by Colgate, Phos-Flur contains a unique fluoride formula to help prevent ugly white scars and cavities. Because it is a rinse, Phos-Flur goes under and around your braces where brushing and flossing may not be effective as possible. Rinse daily with Phos-Flur, combined with regular brushing and flossing to help prevent white scars and cavities.
Disclosing tablets or solutions are useful in establishing correct brushing techniques.
REGULAR VISITS WITH YOUR DENTIST, PREFERABLY EVERY THREE-TO-FOUR MONTHS, ARE ESSENTIAL DURING ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT.
Special thanks to the American Association of Orthodontists and Dr. Mark Bronsky for the making of this video.