Oral Hygiene & Braces – Introduction
Oral hygiene is always important! That means you should maintain a good oral hygiene regimen throughout the length of your orthodontic treatment. Wearing braces can make brushing and flossing a bit trickier than normal. But, as we already mentioned, it is incredibly important to keep up with brushing and flossing. Braces, wires, bands and retainers can trap food particles. How can you prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease? Careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal and snack, is the best way!
Tips on Oral Hygiene & Braces Care
Start with the outside of the teeth, with the brush at a straight angle. Use circular, vibrating motions. Clean the area between the gums and braces by angling the brush down. Keep using a small circular motion. Clean the rest of the outside of the teeth by angling the brush up. Brush the chewing surface of both the upper and lower jaw. Finish up by brushing the inside of the teeth.
A Proxabrush is an interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush that you may use to clean underneath and around your wires and braces. Use the Proxabrush gently to avoid damaging your wires. The Proxabrush will help you to clean your braces while maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Floss at least once a day. The floss should be pulled under the archwire. You can try using a floss threader to help with this. Thread the floss threader, then push the end under the archwire and pull the floss through. Pull the floss up between the teeth and gently move it up and down the sides of both teeth.
When you finish brushing and flossing, be sure to rinse your mouth with water or an antiseptic dental rinse. Using an antiseptic dental rinse can help with minor gum inflammations and irritations caused by your orthodontic appliances. This rinse can also help cleanse canker sores and minor wounds. It helps to remove debris and enable healing!
Peroxyl, a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse, will reduce inflammation to your gums and cheeks. Peroxyl helps to prevent infection and decrease irritation that may develop from your braces. Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of Peroxyl (half a capful) for one minute and then spit it out. You may use Peroxyl up to four times daily following your schedule for brushing: after meals (or after school) and before bed. Just like using peroxide for a scrape on your skin, Peroxyl helps the inside of your mouth heal. Peroxyl can be used for general irritation caused by your braces or for canker sores, cheek bites and other minor temporary injuries to the gums.
Phos-Flur is a sodium fluoride gel that helps prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces by killing bacteria and replacing minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to harmful acids. The use of Phos-Flur does not replace daily brushing and flossing but should be done following your daily schedule at bedtime. Place a small strip of Phos-Flur on a toothbrush and apply it to your teeth for one minute and spit it out. You may not eat or drink for 30 minutes after you use Phos-Flur. It is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes, so do not wash it away by eating or drinking.
Did you know that your retainer can accumulate food particles and plaque? During the retention phase, it is important to brush your retainer every time you brush your teeth. Once a day you should soak your retainer in a glass of room-temperature tap water with a denture-cleaning tablet, such as Polident or Efferdent. This process will help to prevent oral infections and plaque build-up. Do not use hot water to soak your retainer. Using hot water can actually distort the appliance!
Cleaning Your Removable Appliance
Brush your removable appliance every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. Because food particles and plaque can accumulate on your appliance just as they do on your teeth, soak the appliance daily. Dissolve a Polident, Efferdent or other denture-cleaning tablet in a glass of tap water at room temperature and soak your appliance once every day. Your appliance will taste better, and you will prevent plaque and bacterial accumulation.
Foods to Avoid
During your first few weeks wearing braces, you may experience some soreness in your teeth and jaw. We recommend sticking to a soft food diet until any discomfort subsides. While you can eat just about anything while wearing braces, there are a few exceptions.
- Avoid hard foods such as ice, pizza crust, hard candy
- Avoid sticky foods such as licorice, caramels, gummy bears, etc.
- Also remember to cut up hard fruit like apples before eating
Eating hard, sticky, chewy food can actual damage your wires and brackets! It is also important to minimize foods high in sugar, such as soda, ice cream, cookies, etc.