Brush after every meal. You’ve heard it many times before, but with braces it takes on extra significance. All of the nooks and crannies that wires and braces offer put out quite a welcome mat for all those food particles who, if left unchecked, can lead to plaque and bacteria that cause those unsightly white, bleached spots (decalcification).
When brushing, remember that slow and steady will win the race in dental hygiene with braces. Think of your teeth as a canvas and paint with small, not broad, strokes. Make sure to get the tooth in its entirety—the area above the wire, below the wire, underneath the wire, the chewing surface and don’t forget the backs.
Using small circular motions and angling the brush at 45 degrees to the braces (known as the Modified Bass Method) is important in getting the gum line as well as the spaces under the wire, too. In a pinch a good hardy rinse with water is a temporary substitute if you don’t have a toothbrush handy.
Even though it might mean logging more time in front of the mirror, flossing takes on equal importance. A floss threader is a good aid in helping to get the floss into the spaces between each brace, or consider an interdental brush for both flossing the bigger spaces between teeth and cleaning around the braces under the wire. Practice makes perfect and even though it seems a lengthy process at first you will get quicker with time.
Diet also plays a part in dental hygiene with braces. A good rule of thumb for tailoring what you eat to an easier cleaning time (and to prevent breakages which can result in extended treatment time) is to skip out on chewy (gum is one obvious example), sticky (adios gummy worms) or hard (nuts and popcorn) foods. If it is healthy and crunchy, chop them into smaller chunks to avoid damaging your braces.
For those that have moved onto a retainer, taking the extra step to brush it everyday and then soaking it in tap water with a denture cleaning agent goes a long way in keeping food and plaque off the retainer while giving it a fresh flavor.
Of course this is a general guide to dental hygiene with braces there. At Orthodontic Associates you can choose from eight convenient locations around Baltimore where our professionals look forward to providing you with the service, knowledge and techniques to ensure that your experience with braces is the most pleasant possible.