It is definitely a challenge to brush well while wearing braces. Dr. King thought you would appreciate some tips that will help you keep your teeth clean so that they will look even more amazing when the braces come off.
- First, use a soft toothbrush. The most important place to keep clean during orthodontic treatment is above your braces (between the braces and the gums). It is impossible to brush the enamel surface without contacting the gums with the bristles. Hard or medium brushes could damage the gums and should be avoided.
- Second, start brushing using a wet toothbrush, no toothpaste. Toothpaste does contain ingredients that are important for the health of your teeth, but the foam it creates makes it hard to see what you are doing. After you have done a thorough job brushing, THEN you can add a small amount of toothpaste so that you can take advantage of the fluoride, whiteners, abrasives (yes abrasives!), and breath fresheners that are in the paste.
- Third, scrubbing does a decent job on the surface of the braces, but that action will not remove plaque and food that are caught under the wires and brackets. Using your wet tooth brush, begin removing debris by using a picking motion. The bristles act like little toothpicks reaching the smallest hiding places in your orthodontic appliances
- Fourth, spend at least two FULL minutes brushing your teeth. You should spend at least 30 seconds on each side of your teeth. (Upper right and left/lower right and left) You may think that you already do this, but time yourself and you’ll find that you, (like most people) are brushing an average of only 30 seconds for your entire mouth!
- Fifth, the best toothpaste to use is the one the patient likes and encourages them to brush for a full two minutes. Research shows that the most important variables when it comes to good oral hygiene is the TIME SPENT and the technique used and not the brand of toothpaste. Most toothpastes have fluoride which is the most important ingredient.
- Sixth, when you are done brushing in the morning, go ahead and rinse your mouth after brushing. Before bed however, spit but DO NOT RINSE. Research shows that teeth receive just as much fluoride by not rinsing as they do when you apply an expensive fluoride supplement.
- Seventh, I am a big fan of any technology that encourages my patients to spend more time brushing. Electric toothbrushes do a good job supplementing the manual movements of the toothbrush bristles over the teeth. Some brushes that vibrate have been shown to clean a little better than those that rotate. Again, I endorse any brush that makes my patients brush longer than they would otherwise.