How to care for your teeth when wearing braces
When you are wearing braces, food tends to get stuck between the appliances, which can stain teeth if not brushed away. Due to the nature of metal braces, thorough oral hygiene is more difficult and braces wearers will have an increased tendency of developing tartar, gingivitis or even demineralization of tooth enamel.
If left untreated, they can turn into more serious oral health issues, possibly causing longer treatment time.
Brushing your teeth after every meal is highly recommended. You will need to complement this with interdental brushing or flossing using an interdental brush or floss thread.
Brushing Tips for Braces Wearers
- Use the correct angle
Always clean along the gum margin with the toothbrush tilted at 45° angle. This will remove plaque which frequently collects along the gum margin. This is important to prevent any gum infection
- Use the correct action
When brushing your teeth, move your toothbrush gently in a circular motion with the tips of the toothbrush remaining at the same place
- Interdental Brush
Brushing alone is not enough to clean your mouth. It is recommended to supplement your oral care regime with an interdental brush. It is a small brush that looks like “Christmas tree” which comes with a single small tuft on a filament. Interdental brushes come with a straight or angled brush head to clean those difficult to reach areas.
Don’t Forget Flossing
Flossing, for braces wearers, is not easy an easy skill to master. However, it is well worth the effort and certainly helpful for keeping your treatment process smooth.
- Choose dental floss that is smooth or “waxed” so that it is easier to ease between teeth.
- Cut off about 30 cm of floss and with a floss threader, insert one end of the floss below the orthodontic arch wire in the gap between the braces.
- Control only a small (2cm) section between the thumbs and index fingers of both hands and ease the floss between 2 adjacent teeth.
- Use a gentle sawing motion guide to floss between your teeth and gum.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth and appliances and gently scrape the sides with a sliding motion towards the biting edge of the tooth.
- Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
At the end of this oral regime, rinse thoroughly. Your teeth should look really clean and shiny and your braces may sparkle.
A non-alcoholic mouthwash containing fluoride is also strongly recommended once a day. Use of a mouthwash should be separate from your regular tooth brushing routine. For example, you can use the mouthwash after dinner, and then brush your teeth a few hours later before you sleep.
When your oral health is taken care of, your teeth will move to the correct position quicker.