the importance of good oral hygiene

 

When you have braces, it’s very important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment.

It is essential that all food and plaque is removed around the braces to ensure that white spots (enamel decalcifications) do not develop.

Once white spots form, they will unfortunately be there forever!

 

Brushing with Braces

Brushing your teeth for a full 2 minutes after every meal is ideal during orthodontic treatment. If you do not brush after every meal, you must at least brush your teeth twice per day at the bare minimum. Always use a soft-bristled, small-headed toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. As an alternative, you can use a powered toothbrush to increase your brushing effectiveness. Always focus on brushing around the brackets and near the gumline.

    • Brush outside / inside surfaces > small circular motions at a 45-degree angle to the gum line
    • Brush chewing surfaces > short back-and-forth motions

 

Flossing with Braces

Flossing should be an important part of your daily regimen during orthodontic treatment. Flossing with braces, unfortunately, is much harder and takes more time because it requires getting the floss behind the wire for each individual tooth. To help with this, it is useful to use either a floss threader or purchase special floss called Superfloss by OralB.

water flossers / waterpiks

Water flossers are designed to spray a stream of water between teeth to remove food particles. Water flossers and traditional dental floss both offer unique oral benefits, and it is important remember that they should be used in conjunction with each other rather than in place of one another.

However, water flossers are particularly useful for people who are wearing braces. The water stream from the waterpik is very effective at getting behind and in-between the metal wires and flushing out food particles and bacteria. It is a great idea for all patients who are wearing braces to invest in a waterpik to improve their oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment. 

 

fluoride mouth rinses

We highly recommend the use of a fluoride mouth rinse once daily before bedtime in order to strengthen your enamel. This is very useful for preventing the formation of white spots in both children and adults during orthodontic treatment. Please swish with the mouth rinse for at least one minute and then spit out. Do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes afterwards. Any fluoride mouth rinse will do, but here are some of the most popular choices.

 

white spot lesions / decalcifications

Decalcification is a process by which white spots develop on areas of the teeth where plaque has been allowed to stay for a long period of time. This happens very easily when you have braces, because food and plaque is more likely to get trapped around the brackets and wires. All plaque and food should be removed on a daily basis to prevent these unsightly white spots from forming!