You know how important brushing and flossing are for keeping a healthy smile — especially now that you're in orthodontic treatment. But sometimes it's harder to clean your teeth effectively around an appliance's brackets and wires. Here are some tools and tips you can try for better tooth cleaning.
Either a soft-bristle or a bi-level toothbrush (one with longer bristles on the edges and shorter ones in the middle) can be effective in plaque removal — even with braces. An electric toothbrush can also be used, on a moderate setting. For hard-to-clean areas, try an interdental brush, or proxabrush. The small bristles of this special tooth-cleaning aid, which is shaped like a pipe cleaner, can get in between wires, brackets and teeth. With gentle and persistent effort, it's possible to reach into the smallest nooks and crannies, and control plaque buildup.
You should floss at least once a day during orthodontic treatment. While it's a little harder to do with braces, there are some special products available — including floss threaders and particular kinds of floss — that can help you get the floss underneath the wire. Our staff will review proper brushing and flossing techniques with you when your braces are put on — but if you ever have questions, don't hesitate to ask!
Depending on your situation, we may recommend an in-office or at-home supplemental fluoride treatment to boost your cavity resistance. An antiseptic rinse may also be recommended, to ease minor gum inflammation or irritation.
How to Clean Removable Retainers
If you have a retainer, it should be brushed daily, the same way you brush your teeth. We may also recommend using a cleaning solution — but never put hot water on your retainer, because it can distort the soft plastic and make it unusable! And always keep it in a case when it's not in your mouth.