Obtaining a healthy, stable bite is one the main goals of orthodontic treatment and maintaining good oral hygiene is paramount in reaching this goal. Proper brushing and flossing during the course of orthodontic treatment is one of the most important ways you can ensure that you will have a healthy and esthetic result.
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.
Brushing — brush your teeth after every meal and snack. Start with the outside surfaces of the teeth, going over the brackets in circular and vibrating motions. Next, angle the brush to clean above and below the braces. Use the same circular motion for both sides of the bracket. Finally, brush the chewing surfaces of the upper and lower teeth and the inside surfaces of the teeth.
Flossing — in order to prevent cavities between the teeth and to ensure that plaque is removed from beneath the gum tissues, flossing must be done every day. Special dental floss or a floss threader can be used to help floss when braces are on the teeth. We will demonstrate to you the proper flossing technique at your braces placement appointment.
Proxabrush — this interdental toothbrush is another aid you might find useful in keeping your teeth, braces and gums clean and healthy. It can be used to clean under orthodontic wires and around braces. Use this device slowly and carefully, so you do not damage your braces.
Fluoride rinse — the daily use of a fluoride rinse (Phosflur, ACT) will help minimize the formation of white spot lesions (early decay) on the tooth enamel by strengthening the enamel. Rinse according to instructions provided and avoid having anything to drink or eat for 30 minutes after rinsing.
Retainers — during the retention phase, it is important to brush your retainer every time you brush your teeth as they can accumulate food particles and plaque. Once a day, you should soak your retainer in a glass of room temperature water with a retainer cleaning product or a denture cleaning tablet (polident, efferdent). This will help prevent plaque build-up and oral infections and will keep your appliance tasting better. Do not use hot water as it can distort the appliance.
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