Good oral hygiene is important for everybody, but even more so for those wearing braces. Inadequate oral hygiene can cause decalcification – white marks or spots on the teeth, periodontal disease, inflammation which leads to loss of bone and gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums.
It is often thought that the actual braces are the cause of decalcification. This is not the case. Plaque left around the outside of the braces is the cause of this. It is easily preventable by brushing and flossing thoroughly.
Each tooth needs to be brushed individually ensuring that all areas, and especially around the braces and the gumline are cleaned. The toothbrush needs to be at a correct angle to properly clean the whole tooth as well as under the wire.
Tips for Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
- Brush after EVERY meal.
- Use a soft bristle brush as they are easier to get into the areas around the braces and they don’t irritate the gums.
- Limit brushing to one or two teeth at a time so that no area is missed.
- Take your time with brushing your teeth. You might want to use a timer, is recommended that brushing should take at least 3 minutes.
- Brush from top to bottom gently not hard, aggressive brushing can damage delicate gum tissue.
- Rinse with a topical fluoride daily as this can reduce cavities and decalcification.
- An oral irrigator can be a great help. It shoots a high pressure stream of water onto the tooth to remove any remaining particles.
- Disclosing tablets or solutions are a good idea. These use a vegetable dye which will highlight any plaque or other debris or particles which may still be in the mouth. Once the areas are made visible it is much easier to remove them with a toothbrush making sure that a thorough jobs has been done.
Flossing between the teeth, which is an area that cannot be reached by a toothbrush, keeps plaque from building up. For somebody wearing braces flossing cannot be done in the usual way.
The floss needs to be threaded underneath the wire so that it can pass up correctly between the teeth and up to the gum line.
It is important to cut down or avoid acidic drinks and food which can cause problems for anybody who is wearing braces.