One of the most important things a person can do to achieve a beautiful smile is to brush and floss properly every day. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits. One of our trained assistants will instruct you how to properly clean your braces and teeth. Additionally, on every visit to the office we will inform you at how well you are doing on your brushing and flossing. If needed, we will spend some time showing you the areas you are missing and ensuring you have any hygiene tool you need, including a new toothbrush, Oral B triumph electric toothbrush, floss threader, etc.
At Szymanowski Orthodontics, we feel so strongly about good hygiene that we reward our patients with Smile Rewards points for brushing well, regular cleaning, no new cavities and more which are redeemed for exciting prizes. The true reward for your good oral hygiene will come the day your braces come off. Download your hygiene certificate and bring to your dentist to get up to 30 Smile Rewards points.
To improve your hygiene and increase your rewards check out these great tips:
- Brushing with Braces
- Flossing with Braces
- Eating with Braces
- What else to expect
- General Soreness
- Loosening of Teeth
- Loose Wire or Band
- Care of Appliances
brushing and flossing
You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. The best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile is brushing and flossing. Food particles can accumulate on teeth and in braces, and over time, turn into plaque. If plague remains on the teeth for any length of time, it will leave a permanent white scar on the surface on the teeth. The bacteria that results from this accumulation can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even loss of teeth. To avoid these problems while you are in orthodontic treatment, take special care of your braces, teeth and gums to ensure you will have the best possible result.
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, between braces and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
Especially during orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After supper
- At bedtime
You will need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your appliances. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. It may be difficult for your toothbrush to reach some areas under your archwire. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash and fluoride treatment throughout your orthodontic treatment and beyond for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day.
Use the reusable floss threader provided by our office to floss under your archwire daily. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. You will be able to feel when the tooth is clean and hear the squeak of the floss against your clean teeth. Use care around your archwire and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it. After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between your other teeth and gums.
If you are flossing without the floss threader, pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment.