Brushing and Flossing
At the end of orthodontic treatment part of how good your teeth and gums look depends on how well you kept them clean during the treatment.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
- Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
- Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are also useful. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time. Make sure the bristles of the electric brush are getting in behind the wire. If not- consider using one of the other brushing aids given to you.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
- Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and tread it into a floss threader. Tie it on if you prefer.
- Thread the floss under the wire between the teeth
- Once the floss is under your wire, then wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
- Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss- and there are special ones for braces.
It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.
Use other dental aids as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist: Interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc., can all play a role in good dental home care.