During orthodontic treatment, brushing and flossing is more important than ever. That’s because braces have small spaces where food and plaque can get trapped, and poor cleaning while wearing braces can cause enamel staining (white spots) and tooth decay around brackets or bands.
Be sure to brush three times each day with a fluoride toothpaste and soft toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and check your teeth in the mirror to make sure they’re clean. Take time to floss between braces and under wires with the help of a floss threader or small brushes such as piksters. Additionally, visit the dentist to have your teeth cleaned every six months to keep your gums and teeth healthy.
The following routine will help make daily brushing and flossing both simple and effective.
1. Before brushing. Take off elastics, and any other removable parts of your orthodontic appliance. If you have a plate, remove this to brush.
2. Clean your braces. Use your brush at a 45-degree angle to clean around the wires and brackets. Brush from above the top of each wire and then from under the bottom.
3. Brush your teeth. Clean each tooth individually. First, place your brush at a 45-degree angle to the junction between the tooth and the gum, then apply gentle pressure as you move in a circular motion. Do this for about 10 seconds. Use the same brushing action on all outer and inner tooth surfaces, tilting the brush as needed to better reach the insides of smaller front teeth.
4. Floss once a day. Superfloss is a type of floss for cleaning around appliances such as braces. Have your dentist show you how to use this floss, or follow the instructions on the product package. Alternatively, use the use of piksters is also recommended.
5. Rinse and check your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with water or mouth rinse, and examine your teeth and braces in the mirror. They should be free of food and plaque and feel clean.