Cleaning your teeth isn't tough, right? It's not tough to do, but doing it correctly may be more difficult than you expect. Use these tips to make sure you keep your teeth clean, your orthodontic braces sparkling, and stains non-existent.
Why bother? Well, do you truly want raw gums and discoloured teeth like this?
The teeth may be straight, but it's not the look you're after. If your orthodontist notices signs that this is happening, they will have to take your brace off, whether the teeth are straight or not.
Tip 1: Take enough time
It sounds simple, but the most common mistake is to rush the process. Maybe you have to take an exam, you're busy taking care of your kids, or you're rushing to get to the office on time; but these excuses aren't sufficient. Do you leave the house without washing your face and combing your hair? If you don't clean your teeth correctly, bacteria are growing and proliferating in your mouth causing lasting damage.
Tip 2: Get a new brush
If your toothbrush is old with bent bristles, you should get a new one. A new brush will actually have bristles that do their job properly. It's often recommended that you change your brush every 3 months, but braces can mangle a brush quicker than that, and interdental brushes wear out especially quickly.
Tip 3: Reach the parts other brushes can't reach!
You won't get the space behind the wire with your usual brush (or with a pen or fingernail for that matter). You might end up damaging your braces if you attempt to reach back there anyway. Get a proper interdental brush. This is a brush with a small pipe-cleaner style tip that can be inserted behind the wire and lightly jiggled around until all food and plaque is gone. You'll often need to rinse the brush as you go, to get rid of the surprising amount of debris that collects in these stagnant areas. TePe finger-held brushes are my personal preference. It's easy to get them into hard to reach places. They come with small caps and are easy to bring with you wherever you go too. Most individuals can clean their braces and teeth easily with a green one, but some folks need larger brushes. Speak to your orthodontist about which brush would be best for you. The majority of orthodontists sell the brushes you should use for your brace, but you can also get them from many chemists, or buy them online.
Flossing is important for adults and anyone who has had issues with their gums before. It may seem awkward when you start, but it's easy to get used to. Thread the floss beneath the wire first, and then you can floss as usual. Superfloss has a hard end and is not as difficult to thread through if you can get hold of it.
Tip 4: Go at one or two teeth at a time
You may think you are accomplishing a lot when you aggressively brush a bunch of teeth all at the same time, but it doesn't do all that much good. If you brush slowly, concentrating on just one or two teeth at a time, you will clean much better. Small circular strokes of the brush work well. You might need to put your lips back so you can get between your gums and your teeth properly.
Tip 5: Don't miss bits
Sometimes bits get passed over because you're being too quick, or not using the right brush, but it can be a technique issue as well.
Right handed people tend to miss the canine teeth and lateral incisor on the left side of their mouth and the opposite for left handed folks. What happens? Because when you're brushing you'll find you can only brush so far with the toothbrush pointing in one direction and then when you change direction, you skip a pair of teeth on accident, moving straight on to the back ones. You'll get what I mean when you try it. You have to concentrate on your front teeth when you change your hand's position to avoid skipping teeth. That way you'll clean a couple of teeth twice instead of missing them out.
Tip 6: Mouthwash is not a brushing substitute
Yes, we tell you to use a mouthwash, but not in exchange for brushing. We want you to use a fluoride mouthwash because it aids in strengthening your enamel. Don't be tricked by the mouthwash adverts claiming to eliminate over 99% of oral bacteria. Your teeth will only become clean if you brush them. Most mouthwash cannot reach the bacteria that is hidden under thick layers of plaque. Mouthwash is an add-on not a substitute.
Tip 7: Check up on your work
When you first get your braces, you should take some time to look at your teeth and make sure everything in your mouth appears fine. Have you missed anywhere? You can use disclosing tablets to make plaque stain; that makes it easy to figure out what spots you are missing and helps you change your brushing habits to prevent issues. Your gums will get inflamed and start bleeding if you consistently miss the same spot.
Tip 8: Remember to do it regularly
When you eat, you need to brush. Always. Basically, you need to have a toothbrush with you wherever you go. If you can, the whole works is best, with toothbrush, interdental brush and toothpaste. If you're going somewhere a bulky kit is not easy to carry, you can still take an interdental brush - the tiny ones fit anywhere - a pocket, schoolbag or wallet. If there's no sink you can use, just take a small bottle of tap water with you for rinsing. The sooner after you eat you brush, the better off your teeth will be.
Tip 9: Don't use too big a brush
Gigantic toothbrushes are not good; you want a small brush. Big brushes look like they will clean a lot of teeth in one go, but in practice tend to skate over the braces, missing the areas where plaque piles.
Tip 10: Don't quit cleaning when you see bleeding gums
Sometimes people get scared they are damaging their gums if they bleed in a few places when brushing. Then they decide not to brush in that spot for a while. But bleeding gums actually need more cleaning than other parts of your mouth. When an area of gum has become inflamed due to plaque bacteria being left alone there for a while, it will bleed easily when a toothbrush next comes in contact with it. Bleeding will end after the inflammation goes down, but only if you continue cleaning that area well. Tell you orthodontist if your gums are still bleeding even after you've been cleaning them well for several days.
Smile Solution are based in the south west of England and offer high quality orthodontic care to both adults and kids alike. For top quality orthdontic braces Bristol and the bordering area, please visit us soon