Proper Dental Care for Braces
Proudly serving Newton MA and surrounding towns.
To keep your smile healthy and cavity free during orthodontic treatment, your oral hygiene is extremely important. The extra surfaces inside your mouth provide plaque with additional areas to attach to. As such, it’s easier for someone who may not brush well to see an uptick in gingivitis or tooth decay.
By investing in the right oral hygiene aids and taking time to clean your teeth at least twice a day, you can keep your smile healthy throughout the duration of treatment. That way once your braces finally come off, you’ll have healthy teeth and gums to show off from day one.
Brushing Around Braces
Now is a great time to invest in an electric toothbrush. Brush above and below your brackets, paying extra attention to gumlines and the brackets themselves. Make sure that you’re brushing for a minimum of two minutes, twice per day. If possible, brush mid-day as well. Fluoride toothpaste is highly recommended.
Proxy-Brush or Interdental Brush
Your toothbrush bristles probably won’t reach between the brackets, just under the wires. That’s where proxy brushes come in. These small tools look like a short pipe cleaner (tapered like a Christmas tree) on the end of a small handle. They can be used several times as long as they’re rinsed well, before disposing of them.
To use a proxy brush, slide it under the wire and rub up against the bracket, then slide it over to the next bracket. You’ll find that these aids work well for removing food after a meal, especially at the front of your mouth. They can also be bent (since there’s a wire in the middle) to make it easier to reach between brackets on your back teeth.
Floss Threaders and “Super” Floss
Brushing only cleans about 2/3 of the surfaces of your teeth. Even if you’re wearing braces, you still need to be flossing each day. But since there are fixed wires in the way, you’ll need to invest in a floss threader to loop the string through and underneath the wire between each tooth. From there, hug the floss against the tooth and rub it up and down the side, as well as just under the gumlines. Then move to the next tooth and repeat the process.
Super floss is a modified type of floss with a stiff end, eliminating the need for separate threaders. It also tufts out in the middle of the strand, making it more effective for cleaning wider spaces or around orthodontic brackets.
Using a Water Flosser
Water flossing is excellent for people who have braces. Since the water flosser uses a steady stream to flush away food debris, plaque, and bacteria, it can be used throughout the mouth. Some people prefer water flossing over traditional floss.
Trace the water flosser along the edges of your gums and braces, pausing between teeth to clean between them. Depending on the model of flosser that you’ve purchased, there may even be interchangeable tips with small brushes to better clean around your orthodontic brackets. Many also include adjustable pressure settings to make the process as comfortable as possible.
We highly recommend using additional fluoride on a daily basis if you’re in braces. The fluoride will help remineralize any weak areas around your brackets, where plaque may have set for too long. By applying the fluoride, you reduce the likelihood of any demineralization or white spots from showing up once your orthodontic appliances are removed. Depending on your risk factors we can either prescribe a professional strength gel or recommend an over-the-counter rinse to use each day. For best results, apply the fluoride just before going to bed.
Have you ever felt that no matter how well you’re cleaning your teeth, you’re still leaving something behind? Disclosing tablets or solutions are available online. When used as directed, they’ll stain any existing plaque another color (usually pink or purple) to make it easier to go back and remove it. Just take care; disclosing products can easily stain fabrics.
Schedule Regular Cleanings
Make sure you’re scheduling a professional dental cleaning at least every six months. If you find that you’re experiencing more buildup than normal, it may be worth adding an extra appointment here and there throughout the course of your orthodontic therapy.
Our dentist or hygienist will show you how to modify your oral hygiene routine to keep your smile as healthy as possible while in braces. Call our office at (617) 527-6061 or request an appointment online.