Now that your braces in place, it’s important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen throughout the length of your treatment. Braces, wires, bands and retainers can all trap food particles making it difficult to brush or floss away plaque. Careful brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease.
Start with the outside of the teeth, with the brush at a straight angle. Use circular, vibrating motions. Next clean the area between the gums and braces by angling the brush down (up for the lower jaw). Keep moving in a small circular motion. Then carefully brush the chewing surfaces of both the upper and lower jaw. Finish 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.
Flossing with Braces
Floss at least once a day. First the floss needs to be pulled under the arch-wire. A floss threader facilitates this. Start by pulling the floss through the threader. Then push the end of the floss threader under the arch-wire and pull the floss through. Now you can pull the floss between the teeth and gently move it up and down the sides of both teeth. Remember to move it up all the way to the gums. Finally pull the floss out and use a different section of it for the next tooth.
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.
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.