Oral Hygiene FAQ's

 

 

Now that you have your braces in place, it is just as important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen throughout the length of your treatment as it was before. 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. Click on the buttons below to learn more about how to continue a proper oral hygiene routine while in braces.

Brushing

  1. Start with the outside of the teeth, with the brush at a straight angle. Use circular, vibrating motions.
  2. Clean the area between the gums and braces by angling the brush down (up for the lower jaw). Keep moving in a small circular motion.
  3. Clean the rest of the outside of the teeth by angling the brush up (down for the lower jaw).
  4. Carefully brush the chewing surface of both the upper and lower jaw.
  5. Finish by brushing the inside of the teeth.

Flossing

  1. Floss at least once a day. The floss needs to be pulled under the archwire. A floss threader facilitates this. Start by pulling floss through the threader.
  2. Push the end of the floss threader under the archwire and pull the floss through.
  3. Pull the floss up between the teeth and gently move it up and down the side of both teeth. Remember to move it up all the way under the gums.
  4. Pull the floss out and use a different section of it for the next tooth.

Rinsing

When you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth carefully with water or an antiseptic dental rinse. An antiseptic dental rinse can help minor gum inflammations and irritations from orthodontic appliances. Also used to cleanse canker sores, minor wounds and other mouth and gum irritations, this mouth rinse removes debris, enabling natural healing to occur.

Interdental

An interdental toothbrush (proxabrush) 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.

Retainer

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 appliance in a glass of room-temperature tap water with a denture-cleaning tablet, such as Polident or 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.

Foods to Avoid

Your teeth may be a little sore for the first week in braces, so we recommend sticking to a soft food diet until the discomfort subsides. While in braces, you can still eat just about anything although there are a few exceptions.
You should avoid hard foods, such as ice and pizza crust, as well as sticky foods, including licorice and caramels. These foods can damage wires and brackets. It is also important to minimize foods high in sugar content, like ice cream and cookies, and reduce sugary drinks to once a day.

FAQ

What is an interdental toothbrush?

A Proxabrush is an interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush that you may use to clean underneath and around your wires and braces. Use the Proxabrush gently to avoid damaging your wires. The Proxabrush will help you to clean your braces while maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

How do mouthwashes help?

Peroxyl, a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse, will reduce inflammation to your gums and cheeks. Peroxyl helps to prevent infection and decrease irritation that may develop from your braces. Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of Peroxyl (half a capful) for one minute and then spit it out. You may use Peroxyl up to four times daily following your schedule for brushing: after meals (or after school) and before bed. Just like using peroxide for a scrape on your skin, Peroxyl helps the inside of your mouth heal. Peroxyl can be used for general irritation caused by your braces or for canker sores, cheek bites and other minor temporary injuries to the gums.

What is the point of taking fluoride?

Phos-Flur is a sodium fluoride gel that helps prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces by killing bacteria and replacing minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to harmful acids. The use of 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. It is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes, so do not wash it away by eating or drinking.

How do I clean my appliance?

Brush your removable appliance every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. Because food particles and plaque can accumulate on your appliance just as they do on your teeth, soak the appliance daily. Dissolve a Polident, Efferdent or other denture-cleaning tablet in a glass of tap water at room temperature and soak your appliance once every day. Your appliance will taste better, and you will prevent plaque and bacterial accumulation.