Keeping your smile healthy

It is more difficult to keep your teeth and gums healthy when you are wearing braces. Braces tend to trap food which can lead to cavities and gum disease. For this reason, brushing and flossing become even more important for orthodontic patients. The following recommendations will help you keep your braces clean and your teeth and gums healthy.

Brushing

Brush your teeth, gums, and braces at least three times a day - after breakfast, after lunch, and just before bed. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride to help fight cavities. You should spend at least three minutes each time you brush your teeth. Use a timer, clock, or other means to ensure that you are brushing for the appropriate amount of time. Carefully brush around each tooth. Angle the toothbrush toward the gums to massage the tissues and remove the plaque that tends to deposit between the braces and the gums.

Be sure to carefully clean all around the braces including the spaces between the teeth and wires. Proxy ("Christmas Tree") brushes do a good job of cleaning underneath the wire. Don't forget to brush the inside and chewing surfaces of the teeth as well. When you are finished brushing your teeth you should look closely at your teeth in a mirror to ensure that there are no areas that you accidentally missed.

Flossing

Flossing gets to food and plaque between teeth that a toothbrush will never reach. There is not a good alternative to floss for reaching these areas. Using a floss threader (available at your local store or pharmacy) will help you to floss with your braces on. Floss at least one time each day. On the day that your braces are placed we will teach you how to floss with your braces. Should you ever need additional guidance, our team members will be happy to help you.

Fluoride

Use toothpaste that contains fluoride. Your dentist may prescribe a fluoride rinse if necessary.

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