Cleaning Your Teeth and Braces
Our team encourages you to do your part to keep your mouth clean by caring for your teeth at home. When you begin treatment at Galati Orthodontics, we will provide you with specific instructions to care for your teeth and your orthodontic appliances.
When you receive braces, it is more important than ever to properly care for your oral health. Food and bacteria can easily collect around brackets, wires, and bands, causing stains, cavities, and unpleasant odors.
Brush your teeth at least 3-4 times a day (after breakfast, after lunch or after arriving home at the end of the day, after dinner, and before bedtime). Other aids, such as an electric toothbrush, Waterpik®, or small interdental (or proxa-) brushes, should also be considered. Proxabrushes can clean difficult-to-reach areas around your brackets, wires, and bands that cannot be reached with a regular toothbrush. They are especially efficient in removing any lingering food or plaque along the sides of the braces.
Brushing teeth while in braces requires greater time and diligence than brushing without braces. Be prepared to spend at least 2-4 minutes on your teeth each time you brush. Brush on the top and bottom of your brackets, as well as in between; along the gum lines front and back of each tooth; on the chewing surfaces of your teeth; and your tongue.
It is important to floss once a day, especially if you have braces. Flossing with braces can be made easier with the use of a floss threader or SuperFloss®. Thread the floss under the archwire, then wrap one end around your left index finger and the other end around your right, and gently slide the floss between two teeth toward your gums. Move the floss up and down several times against both teeth, reaching under the gum line. Repeat these steps between each set of neighboring teeth.
If you are not cleaning your teeth properly, you may notice one or more of the following:
- Redness along the gum line
- Swollen and puffy gums
- Bleeding when brushing and flossing
- Plaque (food and bacteria) around your brackets and near your gum line
By following the orthodontist’s instructions for proper brushing and flossing, you can keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.
To help keep your teeth and gums healthy, we encourage you to continue to visit your regular dentist for thorough dental cleaning every 3-6 months. Patients who have a difficult time maintaining their oral hygiene throughout their orthodontist treatment may need to see a dentist more frequently.
Adult patients who have a history of periodontal disease may need to visit a periodontist while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Please note that your dental insurance may not cover the cost of hygiene visits that occur at 3-month (or more frequent) intervals; however, the benefits of a healthy smile are worth the extra investment.
Do you have questions about caring for your teeth while you have braces? Contact our office in Scottsdale, Arizona, at 480-656-7801.