Brushing and flossing is the best way to make sure that you maintain healthy teeth and gums. When you have braces, it is common for food particles to get trapped in the joints. Failure to observe proper dental hygiene can lead to the accumulation of plague and tooth decay. Other problems that may manifest include periodontal disorders such as gum disease and gingivitis. In extreme cases, you may even loose you teeth.
Take note of how the bristles brush along the gum line.
When you have braces, you should always use a soft bristled toothbrush. Apply a small amount of fluoride toothpaste and brush in small circular movements. This allows you to reach food particles that may be trapped under the gum line. Do not make rapid movements to avoid damaging the braces. Instead, use slow deliberate movements and make sure you cover all areas. When you have braces fitted, brushing in the right manner will usually take you several minutes. Remember to brush the roof of your mouth and tongue before you rinse.
You should make sure you brush your teeth a minimum of four times a day to be sure that food particles do not accumulate in the braces. The following brushing times are recommended:
- After breakfast
- After lunch
- After dinner
- Before bed
It is normal for people fitted with braces to wear out their toothbrushes much faster. The regular contact of the bristles with the metallic braces as well as the frequent brushing will lead to faster wear and tear of your toothbrush. When you notice that your toothbrush has begun fraying, you should replace it immediately. In fact, it is better (if you can afford) to buy a packet of toothbrushes from the drug store and keep them in your medicine cabinet. This way you can replace a worn out toothbrush immediately. It is also recommended that you buy a Proxabrush. Proxabrushes allow you to reach areas under the archwire where an ordinary toothbrush cannot reach as shown in the image above.
Flossing is important because it removes food particles from between the teeth where no toothbrush can access. When fitted with braces, flossing can be a real challenge; it takes time and lots of practice to get it right. It is important to floss daily.
We provide a reusable floss threader which you should use on a daily basis to floss under your archwire. Slide the threader up and down along the front section of each tooth. When the tooth is clean, you should feel a squeak of the thread against your teeth. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when flossing around the wire.
If you are not using the floss threader, extract a small length of dental floss from a dispenser. Make sure your wrap both ends tightly around your middle fingers and then guide the floss between your teeth and gums. Use the floss in a methodical method from beginning to end. Do this by unwrapping any unused floss from your fingers and using it as you move along.
Always make sure that you floss before going to bed. You may also notice that your gums bleed slightly when you first begin to floss. If bleeding does not resolve itself after the first few times let us know about it at your next appointment.