Keeping your teeth healthy while progressing through orthodontic treatment is definitely a top priority. Having braces or Invisalign does not make it difficult to clean your teeth, it just makes it a little bit more time-consuming. There are more places for food and bacteria to hide when you have braces or Invisalign, so staying on top of your oral hygiene will be important to keeping your teeth healthy and strong. We will teach you how to effectively clean your teeth during treatment and give you some special brushes to help. It is very important to brush after every meal and avoid leaving food sitting on your teeth. You should also limit soft drinks and other sugary drinks when you are going through treatment to prevent cavities and staining.
Brushing with Braces
When brushing with braces on, it is important to angle your toothbrush so that the bristles of the brush clean the space between your wire and your teeth. If you only brush straight across your teeth, your braces will be cleaned but your braces will shield your teeth from getting clean. You should spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth after each meal and also gently brush your gums. The most common complication related to oral hygiene and braces is swollen gums or gingivitis. This is totally avoidable with good brushing and flossing. You can also use an electric toothbrush as an alternative, but this is not required. Brush the outside and inside surfaces of your teeth using small, gentle, circular motions while positioning the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Brush your teeth’s chewing surfaces and the inside surface of your front teeth using short, gentle, back-and-forth motions. Pay close attention to the areas around your brackets or other appliances.
Flossing with Braces
Flossing after every meal will help keep your teeth and braces clean, which will also help keep your treatment time on track. You should floss an absolute minimum of once a day, but ideally you would floss after every meal. To floss with braces, use a floss threader or special orthodontic floss to thread the floss behind each wire. A pressurized water flosser - like a Waterpik - can also be very helpful to remove some of the debris that can hide in and around your braces or Invisalign. Wrap the ends of the floss around your pointer fingers of both hands, leaving a few inches of taut floss between them. Gently slide the floss between each set of teeth using a back and forth motion. Floss the sides of each tooth beneath the gum line to remove plaque and food particles. Repeat this process until you’ve flossed all of your teeth. If you find that your floss is not removing all of the food particles between your teeth and around your braces, we would strongly recommend you consider a water flosser as well!