Brushing and Flossing
Keeping everything clean
Brushing and flossing are the best ways to achieve a clean and healthy mouth. Food particles that accumulate on teeth and in braces can, over time, form plaque. Bacteria from food particle accumulation leads to gum diseases, tooth decay and even tooth loss. To avoid these problems, take special care of your teeth and gums to ensure the best possible oral health. Patients starting treatment with our office will receive some specialized brushes and tools to help clean around orthodontic appliances.
Patients with braces should follow these instructions for cleaning every day:
Always use a toothbrush that has soft bristles with a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. While you brush teeth, try and move brush in circular motions so that it reaches food particles that could be under your gum line. Also, hold the toothbrush at an angle and then brush carefully and gradually, covering all the areas between teeth, in between braces and the surface of each tooth. This may take you several minutes to thoroughly clean and brush teeth. You should also brush up on the lower teeth, outside and down on the upper teeth, inside and the chewing surface of your back and front teeth. Before you rinse, brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
Particularly during an orthodontic treatment, you should brush teeth four times in a day to avoid the accrual of food particles in braces and teeth:
- After breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
Due to your appliances, you will have to replace your toothbrush more often. As soon as the bristles start to fray, get a new toothbrush. It may be difficult for your toothbrush to approach a few areas under your arch wire. Never swallow toothpaste and always rinse your mouth properly with water after you are done with brushing. Floss is important. Use fluoride treatment and antibacterial mouthwash throughout your orthodontic treatment and even beyond to ensure the best oral health.
Tools to help keep teeth clean
- Interproximal Brush: A mini tree shaped brush that helps clean underneath of the wires of your braces. They help to remove plaque and food particles left behind.
- Fluoride Toothpaste and Rinse: Using a fluoride product as a part of your daily cleaning routine helps protect your teeth. Dr. Verduci recommends using Act in the a.m. and Phos Flur in the p.m.
- Electric Toothbrush: Using a more powerful toothbrush throughout orthodontic treatment makes cleaning easier and more effective for patients. Dr. Verduci recommends the Oral B Genius with an orthodontic head.
Use dental floss for the removal of plaque and food particles from the areas between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing can take more time and patience while you are in braces, yet it is still vital for you to floss teeth daily.
Use reusable floss threaded that is provided by our office to floss daily under your arch wire. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser and move it up and down along the front of every tooth. You will hear the squeak of floss against your cleaned teeth and will feel when the tooth is clean. Be careful around your arch wire and do not put too much pressure on it. When you have finished flossing between your braces and arch wire, floss between the other gums and teeth.
In case if you are flossing without floss threaded, pull out a small length of floss from dispenser. Now, hold the ends of floss tightly around middle fingers and move up and down to guide floss between all teeth to the gum line, taking out all food particles and plaque. When you finish, unwrap the clean floss from around your fingers. Make sure you floss behind all of your back teeth.
Always floss at night to ensure your teeth are cleaned before going to bed. Your gums can bleed for some time when you first start flossing around your braces. If the bleeding does not stop after first few times, inform our staff on the next appointment.