Keeping Your Teeth Clean
Achieving a healthy, beautiful smile is a team effort. Your orthodontist will straighten your teeth – but it’s your responsibility to maintain your dental health, through regular oral care and regular visits to your dentist.
If your gums and teeth are healthy and clean, your teeth will move better and faster. But now that you have braces, proper oral care will take some extra time and effort.
When should I brush?
You need to brush at least twice a day – once in the morning after breakfast, and once after dinner before you go to bed. It’s also a good idea to clean your teeth after lunch to remove any food that may have been caught around your braces. If this is not possible, rinse your mouth with water to dislodge as much food as possible. You also may like to carry a travelling toothbrush or interdental brushes with you for when you’re not at home.
What happens if my gums bleed?
Pay special attention to your gum line when brushing, as this area often gets neglected. If any food does collect along the gums, they can become tender and swollen, which may cause bleeding. This is a sign that your teeth and gums are not being looked after properly. Bleeding, swollen gums may be uncomfortable, but with regular oral care this will improve.
Plaque is the problem!
Plaque is a sticky white substance, made up of saliva, bacteria and food. Plaque collects around your teeth and braces – and if not cleaned, plaque and trapped food can cause swollen gums, bad breath, permanent marks on your teeth and cavities, Plaque can also make your teeth look yellow. To avoid plaque, brushing at least 2-3 times a day is essential. You also need to make sure you brush properly – brushing your teeth and braces should take at least 4-5 minutes each time you do it. Poor brushing results in permanent decalcification, which can leave permanent marks on your teeth.
Remember – while having orthodontic treatment, you should continue to see your dentist at least every six months. If we all work together, we can make sure you end up with a healthy, beautiful smile.
Brushing your teeth - in 6 easy steps!
Follow these 6 steps, and you’ll be well on the way to a beautiful, healthy smile. Remember to use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Start brushing where the tooth crown meets the gum surface. Hold your toothbrush so the bristles are at a 45-degree angle with the gumline, and brush in a circular motion, working your way around your mouth from one side to the other. Spend about 10 seconds brushing each tooth. It’s best to have a regular brushing routine – e.g. starting at the upper right side of your mouth, and finishing on the lower left side.
- Brush the brackets on your teeth one by one. Spend about 10 seconds brushing each bracket in a circular motion until you have cleaned every one of your teeth.
- Clean under your archwires. Tilt your toothbrush so the bristles can get into the area between your braces.
- Brush the chewing surface of all your teeth.
- Brush the inside surfaces of all the teeth.
- Rinse your mouth, and check your teeth in the mirror. Your braces and teeth should be clean and shiny.
Additional oral health care
Disclosing Tablets are a great product to help monitor plaque removal.
Brush your teeth following the simple 6 step process and then chew on one tablet. Swish saliva around the mouth for 30 seconds. Spit out and then rinse gently with water. Examine your teeth in good light. Any food debris, bacterial plaque and poorly cleaned areas will colour bright pink. Brush thoroughly to remove coloured area.
Interdental brushes are small cylindrical brushes designed to slide into and clean the spaces between the teeth and braces. They have lateral bristles that spring out to engage and remove the plaque in the small hard to reach areas in between the archwire and braces.
Flossing is important for gum tissue and tooth health. We know it is difficult to floss with braces on, so try flossing in the evening when you have more time. Using aids such as a Platypus flosser can be very helpful.
An oral rinse (mouth rinse or mouthwash) is a liquid solution that you swish around your entire mouth – teeth, gums and tongue – to help promote oral hygiene, reduce oral discomfort, provide moisture to oral tissues or help with bad breath. For best results, use daily (preferably after you have brushed your teeth at night).