Caring for My Braces
While wearing braces, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene throughout the length of your treatment. Braces, wires, bands, and retainers can all trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away the plaque. Careful brushing and flossing after every meal and snack is the best way to prevent cavities and plaque build-up that can extend the treatment time.
- Start out with the outside 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 (up from your lower jaw). Keep moving in a circular motion.
- Clean the rest of the outside of the teeth by angling the brush up(down from the lower jaw).
- Carefully brush the chewing surface of both the upper and lower jaw.
- Finish by brushing the inside of the teeth.
- Floss at least once a day. The floss needs to be pulled under the archwire. A floss threader facilitates this. Start pulling floss through the threader.
- Pull the end of the floss threader under the archwire and pull the floss through.
- Pull the floss up and down between the teeth and gently move up and down the side of both the teeth. Remember to move it up all the way under the gums.
- Pull the floss out and use a different section on the next tooth.
When you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth carefully with water or an antiseptic dental rinse. An antiseptic dental rinse can help minor gum inflammations and irritations from orthodontic appliances.
An interdental toothbrush (proxabrush) is another aid you may find useful in keeping your teeth, braces, and gums healthy. It can be used to clean under orthodontic wires and around braces. Use this device slowly and carefully, so you do not damage your braces.
After your braces have been removed and you are wearing a retainer, it is important to brush your retainer every time you brush your teeth as they can accumulate food particles and plaque. 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 Efferent. This will help prevent plaque build-up and oral infections and will keep your retainer fresh. Do not use hot water is it can distort your appliance.