Getting braces can be a very exciting time for children and adults alike, and before you know it you’ll be flashing your new radiant smile. There are a few things to keep in mind along the way to ensure that you reach the end of your orthodontic treatment with beautiful healthy teeth.
While you’re wearing braces, plaque and food particles can take advantage of all the additional places they have to accumulate around the brackets and wires. This accumulation can have many detrimental effects such as tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
Below are some easy guidelines to follow throughout your treatment to ensure you’re taking great care of your teeth when wearing braces.
Fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristled manual or electric toothbrush are ideal for cleaning braces. Using small circular movements, begin brushing at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Then move to the brackets, angling down to reach on top of the brackets, and angling up to reach under the brackets. Don’t forget about the chewing and inside surfaces of the tooth as well.
Quite often we see kids with expander plates or partial braces. The manual dexterity needed to brush effectively does not develop in children until around 10 years of age. Therefore, we hygienists recommend that parents keep watch at brushing times and assist when necessary to ensure a family of happy, healthy mouths.
Creating a flossing routine is very important at all times. However it becomes vital for anyone wearing braces. Flossing helps dislodge food particles and plaque that may accumulate under the gum and would otherwise turn into calculus. It can also help reach small areas and spaces that your toothbrush may miss. We recommend Superfloss, a three-component floss that makes flossing a little easier. Superfloss has a stiff end to floss under the braces, a spongy floss to clean around orthodontic appliances and in wide areas, and standard floss to clean below the gum line. Again, it is important to note that some younger children may not have the manual dexterity to floss their own teeth and may require some assistance from an adult.
Interdental brushes are also an excellent tool for reaching around wires and brackets, and they can help easily dislodge food particles that may get caught at meal times. They should always be used in conjunction with brushing and flossing and do not replace the role of normal floss in reaching interproximal areas.
Plaque can sometimes be difficult to see as it starts to build up on the teeth and around braces. One way to spot plaque is by using disclosing tablets once a week after brushing. The disclosing tablet stains plaque pink, making it easier to see and hence to remove with brushing. It is a great visual aid for brushing for children and adults alike.
Regular dental visits
To assist in maintaining optimal oral hygiene we recommend that you continue with regular visits to your dental hygienist whilst undergoing orthodontics. They will make sure your teeth are healthy and clean, and can point out areas that may need more attention.