Oral Hygiene & Caring for Braces
Taking Care of Your Teeth with Braces
Maintaining good oral hygiene is even more important with braces. The brackets, bands, and wires can trap food making it more difficult to keep your teeth clean. This can lead to white spots, tooth decay and inflammation of your gums. Careful brushing and flossing during treatment will ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy and your smile looks beautiful the day your braces come off.
It is important to all of us at Kuhlberg Orthodontics that you know how to best care for your teeth and gums while wearing braces. Please read through the information below, and use the interactive oral hygiene module for tips on how to keep your teeth and braces clean. If you have any questions or concerns we encourage you to ask one of our doctors or assistants.
Brushing your teeth with braces requires a few more steps and tweaks than your previous routine. Follow these steps to ensure you brush away any trapped food and plaque.
- Step 1: Begin with the outside of the teeth. With your brush at a straight angle brush using gentle, circular motions.
- Step 2: Clean the area between the gums and braces by angling your brush down (up for lower teeth). Continue to brush in small circular motions.
- Step 3: Continue to clean the outside of the teeth by angling the brush up (down for lower teeth).
- Step 4: Carefully clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
- Step 5: Finish brushing the backsides of your teeth.
Bacteria can also collect on the surface of your tongue and roof of the mouth, so it is important to also brush these areas with your toothbrush.
Flossing with braces can be tricky, but with the aid of special orthodontic flossers you will be able to effectively clean between your teeth. As always, it is important to floss at least once a day to remove any plaque and food that has collected between the teeth. Here are some tips on flossing with the use of a threader:
- Step 1: Start my pulling a piece of floss through the threader.
- Step 2: Thread the floss threader under your braces wire and pull the floss through.
- Step 3: Pull the floss between teeth and gently move it up and down, making sure to get it underneath the gums.
- Step 4: Pull the floss out and use a new section for each tooth.
You may also use Super Floss from Oral-b, which will eliminate the need for a floss threader.
After you are done brushing and flossing your teeth, it is important to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water or an antiseptic mouthwash. A dental rinse can help sooth minor gum inflammations, irritations, and other sores from orthodontic appliances. It will also remove debris, which promotes natural healing to occur. We suggest using Peroxyl, which is a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse.
Phos-Flur is a sodium fluoride gel that helps prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces. It kills bacteria and replaces minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to harmful acids. Phos-Flur does not replace daily brushing and flossing but should be done following your daily schedule at bedtime. Place a small strip of Phos-Flur on a toothbrush and apply it to your teeth for one minute and spit it out. You may not eat or drink for 30 minutes after you use Phos-Flur, as it is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes.
An interdental toothbrush, or proxabrush, is another aid you may find helpful in keeping your mouth and braces clean. It is used to clean underneath your wires and around the brackets. However, be sure to use this device slowly and carefully so you do not damage your braces.
While in the retention phase of your orthodontic treatment, it is important to remember to clean your retainer every time you place it back in your mouth. Once a day you should soak your appliance in a glass of warm water with a denture/retainer cleaner, such as Efferdent, Polident or Retainer Brite. This will help prevent plaque and bacteria build up and will also keep your retainer tasting better. It is important to remember to not put your retainer in hot water, as it can change the shape it.
Foods to Avoid
While wearing braces, you can eat pretty much anything you want. However, there are certain foods that you should stay away from as:
- Hard foods such as pizza crust and ice
- Sticky foods such as gum and caramels
- Foods that are high in sugar content like ice cream and cookies
- Reduce your sugary drink intake to only once a day
Come See Us at Kuhlberg Orthodontics Today!
We hope these oral hygiene tips have been helpful. If you have any more questions or would like to schedule an appointment or first visit, please contact us. Our Avon, Connecticut office is proud to help patients in the surrounding communities of the Farmington Valley. We look forward to seeing you smile!
“Very friendly warm and compassionate. They educated my son on how to care for his braces, what foods to avoid, how to clean and most of all, they are there even during any emergency including weekends. I highly recommend this Orthodontic practice to anyone who want a personal, friendly one on one relationship with their doctor.” Thu M.