Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene
Once your new braces are in place, it is important to practice good oral hygiene techniques. This will prevent food particles from becoming trapped inside the wires, bands and retainers of your new braces so that you can continue to effectively brush and floss as before to eliminate plaque.
Maintaining good oral hygiene throughout the duration of your braces treatment can help to prevent tooth decay and the build-up of plaque that ultimately leads to gum disease. As your family orthodontist, we recommend six important ways to maintain proper oral hygiene while wearing braces.
- Proper brushing is essential. Brush after every meal or snack. Hold your toothbrush at a straight angle. Begin brushing at the outside of the teeth, moving the brush in a very fast, circular motion that creates a mild vibration.
- Perform flossing on your teeth at least once a day, and especially after consuming food. First pull your floss through a threader in order to effectively pull the floss under the archwire of your braces.
- Always follow up any brushing or flossing activity with a thorough rinse of your mouth. Although you can use plain water, rinsing with a quality antiseptic dental rinse is even better. Ask your family orthodontist about the best type of rinses to use. On occasion, orthodontic appliances can irritate your gums and cause minor inflammation. Rinsing with an antiseptic dental rinse can help to soothe these irritations. In addition, the rinsing action helps to remove any debris which brushing or flossing has dislodged in your mouth. If there are any cuts, abrasions, canker sores or other mouth irritations present, using an antiseptic dental rinse after brushing or flossing will help these to heal much faster and make your braces continue to feel comfortable.
- The use of an interdental toothbrush called a proxabrush is another way to maintain good oral hygiene while wearing braces. This is an easy to use and very effective tool for cleaning under and around all orthodontic wires where food particles can become trapped. It’s important to use the proxabrush in a slow and methodical fashion in order to prevent damaging your braces or dislodging any of the apparatus.
- Once you are wearing a retainer, this device should also be brushed after brushing your teeth. This helps to eliminate the build-up of food particles and plaque on the retainer. Use a denture cleansing tablet in lukewarm water once a day to thoroughly soak your retainer. Avoid hot water because this can cause the retainer to become misshapen. This thorough cleansing prevents plaque and makes your retainer more pleasant tasting while being worn.
- A soft food diet is essential for the first week of new braces when your mouth feels the most sore. There are also some foods that are best avoided for the duration of your wearing braces because they can cause damage to the brackets and wires. These include chewing on hard foods such as bread rolls and ice cubes, and consuming such sticky foods as taffy and caramels. A good oral hygiene regimen also limits the amount of sugar in your diet and reduces the consumption of sugary beverages to no more than one a day.
For more information about oral hygiene, ask you local dental hygienist or contact our office here.