Good oral hygiene is the basis for a healthy mouth and body. Drs. Savage, Sabol & Visser stress the importance of practicing good oral hygiene to orthodontic patients living in or around Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia’s eastern shore to ensure they get the most out of their treatment plan and a beautiful, healthy smile.
Flossing & Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
Food particles and plaque naturally accumulate on the teeth and on braces. This process could lead to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Proper oral hygiene is vital to prevent these problems from occurring during your orthodontic treatment. The extra effort you give to keep your teeth, braces, and gums clean and healthy will result in a much better orthodontic outcome.
Drs. Savage, Sabol & Visser recommend that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush with moderate force and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Place the toothbrush at an angle so that you feel the bristles under your gum line and use small circular motions. Completely clean each surface of every tooth in your mouth, including the areas above, below, and between each brace. Each surface of every tooth should be scrubbed with ten strokes of the toothbrush. This should take 2-3 minutes.
Drs. Savage, Sabol & Visser recommend that you brush at least three to four times per day: after breakfast, after lunch (or as soon as you get home from school), after supper, and at bedtime. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray.
- Use a soft toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste. Completely clean each surface of every tooth in your mouth, including the areas above, below, and between each brace.
- Use circular, vibrating motions around the gum line. Scrub each surface of every tooth with ten strokes of the toothbrush. This should take 2-3 minutes.
- Brush every tooth slowly. Brush the upper teeth down.
- Brush the lower teeth up. Also brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
Drs. Savage, Sabol & Visser also recommend an electric toothbrush to facilitate oral hygiene. Remember that a toothbrush might not reach the areas under the archwire properly. Proper oral hygiene also involves flossing and the use of an interdental toothbrush (Proxabrush) and a topical fluoride (PreviDent)!
Dental floss is a nylon thread that is used to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. Flossing is more difficult when you have braces on your teeth. A floss threader may be needed to get the floss under the archwire. The doctors will provide these for you (note: floss threaders are reusable). Use a piece of floss about twelve inches long. Use the floss threader to get the floss under the wire. Slide the floss up and down along the tooth surface. When the tooth is clean, the floss will “squeak” as you slide it up and down along the tooth surface. Be very careful to not pull with too much force on your archwire.
Daily flossing is essential to your dental health. Often neglected, flossing helps improve the overall health of your teeth and gums. Flossing assists in cleaning many of the “hard-to-reach” spots in your mouth, spots that regular brushing generally misses. By flossing, you alleviate much of the plaque buildup that often causes gum disease.
Although flossing is more difficult with braces, it is critical to your orthodontic treatment. Always floss at least once a day. Proper flossing reduces the risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay and is easy to do:
- Carefully pull waxed floss between wire and braces.
- Floss carefully around the gum area.
About Interdental Toothbrushes
An interdental toothbrush (Proxabrush) is another aid you may find useful to keep your teeth, braces, and gums clean and healthy. It can be used to clean under orthodontic wires and around braces. Use this device slowly so you do not damage your braces.
Drs. Savage, Sabol & Visser recommend the use of prescription fluoride every evening. For children, teenagers, and adults, we recommend PreviDent. Brush with a PreviDent gel every evening before going to bed. Use PreviDent gel instead of toothpaste at nighttime. After brushing, spit out the excess fluoride and rinse mouth thoroughly. Fluoride must stay on the teeth all night to provide the ultimate protection against decalcification (white scarring).
About Cleaning a Removable Appliance
All orthodontic appliances tend to accumulate food particles and plaque just like teeth do. Every time you brush your teeth, brush your removable appliance. Once a week, you should soak your appliance in a glass of room temperature tap water with a denture-cleaning tablet, such as Polident or Efferdent. This will help prevent plaque buildup and oral infections, and will keep your appliance tasting better.
Drs. Savage, Sabol & Visser provide state-of-the-art treatment for people living in and around Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia’s eastern shore who want a bright, confident smile. Contact us today for your free consultation.