Oral Hygiene

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Now that your braces are on, it is very important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen 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 plaque.  Careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal and snack, is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease.

Brushing while Wearing Braces

Especially during orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth three times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces:

  • In the morning after breakfast
  • After lunch or right after school
  • At bedtime

Flossing while Wearing Braces

Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day. We recommend flossing at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed.

Use a reusable floss threader to floss under your archwire. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader, and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. Use care around your archwire, and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it.

Rinsing with Mouthwash

In addition to brushing and flossing, we suggest using an antibacterial mouth rinse twice a day.  Rinse your mouth with about 10ml of mouthwash and swish for 30 seconds, then spit out.  This will help clean around the braces, remove loose food debris and freshen breath.

Using an Interdental Toothbrush

An interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush is used to clean underneath and around your archwires and braces. Please use the interdental toothbrush gently to avoid damaging your wires.

Topical Fluoride

In some cases when patients are not taking good care of their teeth, we recommend using a sodium fluoride gel to help prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces. This gel kills bacteria and replaces minerals in the tooth enamel that have been removed by harmful acids. Using a fluoride gel does not replace daily brushing and flossing, but it should be applied following your daily schedule at bedtime.  Please let us know if you have any questions about using topical fluoride.

Cleaning Your Removable Appliance

Food particles and plaque can accumulate on your retainer/appliance just as they do on your teeth so keeping it clean is very important.  Brush your removable appliance with toothpaste every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule.  Also, it is helpful to soak it every day as well.  Dissolve a denture-cleaning tablet in a glass of tap water at room temperature, and soak your appliance once a day.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Improper oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment can lead to marks on the teeth or cavities that are most visible when the brackets are removed.  During treatment, if the plaque is left on the tooth long enough, the bacteria in the plaque will produce acid, which dissolves the surface of the tooth.  This is called decalcification and starts as a white stain.  These stains are generally permanent and is the first stage to producing a cavity.  Poor oral hygiene will also lead to soft tissue swelling, inflammation and bleeding gums.  Bleeding gums are the first sign of a serious gum disease called gingivitis and it’s your own body telling you to brush and floss better!