If you’re currently receiving orthodontic treatment, it’s more important than ever to practice proper brushing and flossing guidelines. Learning how to care for your braces can be the difference between a successful orthodontic experience and the alternative. Food particles can lodge in your braces and attract bacteria which can form more easily next to the edges of your brackets. This bacteria, mixed with the sugars and saliva in your mouth can mean tooth decay, scarring and eroding your teeth’s good enamel. Brushing and flossing are the best medicines for a healthy mouth. At All About Braces and Colorado Orthodontics our staff understands that doing these simple tasks properly can protect your teeth and gums as well as reduce the bacteria that could lead to other diseases in your body.
The Benefits of Brushing
We want our all of our patients to have the best orthodontic experience possible. To make that happen, we need your help. Regularly brushing will keep the decomposing food particles in your teeth from producing bacteria. This dangerous bacteria can lead to painful tooth decay and other serious conditions. Brushing will also keep your gums healthy and disease-free.
Proper flossing and brushing are necessary for the prevention of:
- Cavities made when bacteria dig holes in the enamel coating on your teeth. These gaps are magnets for infection if not treated.
- Gum Disease (gingivitis) which can be painful and uncomfortable to treat.
- Staining from certain foods, and especially beverages such as tea, that can stain your teeth
- Bad Breath (halitosis) which is not only unpleasant for others, but it can also indicate serious health problems
The Right Way to Brush
Like the American Dental Association (ADA), All About Braces and Colorado Orthodontics recommend you brush with a soft-bristled brush at least twice every day. There are many choices of toothbrushes and most are equal when it comes to effective brushing. You should choose a brush that is appealing to you in color and style, that has soft, rounded bristles, and that is approved by the ADA. There is little difference found between the effectiveness of a manual toothbrush and a powered brush. Oral water flossers may be helpful in removing loose food particles from brackets, but proper brushing is still required to remove plaque. Orthodontists recommend that you change your toothbrush every three to four months.
Steps for Proper Brushing
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the surface of the tooth where the gums and tooth meet.
- With small circular motions gently brush the teeth and gums.
- Be careful not to apply too much pressure or scrubbing. This can damage the enamel of the teeth and the soft tissue of the gums.
Why Flossing Matters
Even though you think you’ve brushed really well, there will still be small bits of food and bacteria that are left in between your teeth. When you floss, you are able to remove these pieces and any plaque from between your teeth. These areas are hard to reach with a toothbrush. There are many type of available floss, but our Denver orthodontists recommend the wax-coated floss.
Basic Steps for Proper Flossing
- When flossing, make sure you clean the spaces between the teeth in the front and rear of your mouth. You may bleed a little at first. As you make flossing a regular habit, however, the bleeding should stop. If you continue to bleed following regular brushing and flossing, make an appointment with the dentist.
- Dispense a piece of floss about 17-18 inches long and wrap each end around the middle fingers of each hand. Keep wrapping the floss until you can place your index finger on the floss and they are 4-5 inches apart.
- Carefully, work the floss between the contacts of the teeth down toward the gums.
- Once the floss is past the contact gently curve the floss around each individual tooth and gently move the floss up and down to remove debris.
Contact Us With Questions
If you have any questions about brushing or flossing with braces, please give us a call at one of our eight convenient locations in Aurora, Lakewood, Arvada, Denver, Thornton and Highlands Ranch. We’re sure to have an office close to you. We’re here to answer all of your orthodontic questions and help you get and KEEP that perfect smile you’ve been dreaming up.