Poor brushing and flossing habits can leave food stuck in your teeth and braces over long periods. This can cause bad breath and a buildup of plaque which, in turn, leads to bigger dental problems down the line such as cavities, or swollen, tender gums. On removal of the braces, this can also leave staining and white marks on the teeth (decalcification, or a breakdown of tooth enamel).
However, keeping a strict cleaning regime throughout your treatment will ultimately give you much better results, and help you avoid the possibility of further dental treatment once your braces are off. Adhere to the following tips and your teeth will shine brighter than ever.
How long should you be brushing for?
With or without braces, the standard recommendation is to brush for at least 2 full minutes. Extra care needs to be taken in order to properly clean braces if there is food in them, bringing brushing time up to around 4 or 5 minutes.
How often should you brush?
If you have braces or are currently undergoing other orthodontic treatment, brushing your teeth at least twice a day is strongly recommended – at least once in the morning after breakfast and after dinner before bed. It’s also a good idea to clean your teeth after lunch in order to remove food caught between your braces.
When out and about, try to carry a travelling toothbrush or interdental brush with you if possible. If you cannot clean your teeth, it is highly advised that you at least rinse your mouth to dislodge as much food as possible.
Remember your gums!
Pay special attention to your gums when brushing as this area is often neglected. If food collects along the gum line and is left there, the bacteria that develops can cause the gums to become tender and swollen, and may even bleed. The gums can be difficult to get to with braces on, so make sure you take the time to clean them properly.
Flossing can get neglected when people have braces as it is a slightly more involved process. The following tips will help you keep your oral health in top shape:
Use the right floss
Make sure you floss with either waxed floss, dental tape, a special braces cleaning brush or floss. Unwaxed floss is likely to shred on the braces and get caught. Your dentist can suggest products that would best suit your needs.
Make sure the piece of floss you use is enough to get a proper grip and won’t slip out – 40cm should be plenty.
Master your technique
The correct way to floss with braces is to thread the floss under the main wire first to clean between the wires and teeth, and then floss between the teeth as normal. Repeat this for each tooth to get the best results.
While undergoing any type of orthodontic treatment, you should continue with regular dental checkups – one appointment at least once every 6 months is strongly recommended to avoid any future problems and promote oral health.
Should you have any further questions about orthodontics, or are interested in the possibility of orthodontic treatment, contact us at Fernvale Dental. We are happy to announce that we now offer orthodontic treatments. Call us today to book your orthodontic consultation!