Now that you have your braces in place, it is just as important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen throughout the length of your treatment as it was before. 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.
Step 1: Start with the outside of the teeth, with the brush at a straight angle. Use circular, vibrating motions.
Step 2: Clean the area between the gums and braces by angling the brush down (up for the lower jaw). Keep moving in a small circular motion.
Step 3: Clean the rest of the outside of the teeth by angling the brush up (down for the lower jaw).
Step 4: Carefully brush the chewing surface of both the upper and lower jaw.
Step 5: Finish by brushing the inside of the teeth.
Step 1: Floss at least once a day. The floss needs to be pulled under the archwire. A floss threader facilitates this. Start by pulling floss through the threader.
Step 2: Push the end of the floss threader under the archwire and pull the floss through.
Step 3: Pull the floss up between the teeth and gently move it up and down the side of both teeth. Remember to move it up all the way under the gums.
Step 4: Pull the floss out and use a different section of it for the next tooth.
When you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth carefully with water or an antiseptic dental rinse. An antiseptic dental rinse can help minor gum inflammations and irritation from orthodontic appliances. Also used to cleanse canker sores, minor wounds and other mouth and gum irritations, this mouth rinse removes debris, enabling natural healing to occur.
An interdental toothbrush (proxabrush) is another aid you might find useful in keeping your teeth, braces and gums clean and healthy. It can be used to clean under orthodontic wires and around braces. Use this device slowly and carefully, so you do not damage your braces.
Peroxyl, a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse, can reduce inflammation to your gums and cheeks. Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of Peroxyl (half a capful) for one minute and then spit it out. You may use Peroxyl up to four times daily following your schedule for brushing: after meals (or after school) and before bed. Just like using peroxide for a scrape on your skin, Peroxyl can help the inside of your mouth heal. Peroxyl can be used for general irritation caused by your braces or for canker sores, cheek bites and other minor temporary injuries to the gums.
Topical fluoride helps prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces by killing bacteria and replacing minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to harmful acids. The use of fluoride does not replace daily brushing and flossing but should be done following your daily schedule at bedtime.
Cleaning Your Removable Appliance
Brush your removable appliance every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. Food particles and plaque can accumulate on your appliance just as they do on your teeth. Brushing your appliance will help prevent plaque and bacterial accumulation.