Proper brushing and flossing removes plaque. Plaque is a sticky, white substance that collects on your teeth. It is made up of bacteria, food and saliva. If plaque and trapped food are left on your teeth and around your braces, it can cause bad breath, cavities and swollen gums. If your gums become puffy, the teeth may not move as quickly; this could delay treatment progress. Plaque can also discolor your teeth and make them look yellow. Don’t let any of these things happen to you; be your smile’s best friend by brushing often and properly. Also, remember to floss as often as possible.
Teeth should be brushed in the morning, after each meal, and at bedtime. If you cannot brush after meals, rinse your mouth vigorously with water. What is most important is that at least once every day you vigorously brush your teeth and braces until they are spotlessly clean. This takes extra time; so most patients do it at night before going to bed. The following brushing and flossing tips will keep your appliances and your smile healthy:
The use of an electronic toothbrush is recommended if proper brushing is not accomplished with a manual toothbrush. As over-the-counter fluoride rinse (e.g. Act) is also highly suggested. Fluoride strengthens the enamel surface of your teeth and should be used daily.
Ideally flossing should be done every day. If this is not possible, please floss at least 2-3 times a week. Soft Pics (by GUM) are another option for cleaning between teeth.
If brushing and flossing are done properly on a regular basis, you should have no gum discomfort. When brushing and flossing are not done in this manner, the gums become sore and puffy. If this happens, do not stop brushing your teeth and gums. Warming the bristles under hot water will soften them causing less irritation to the gums. Always, use light, gentle strokes when brushing.
Successful orthodontic treatment depends upon our patient exercising reasonable care in avoiding hard or chewy substances which will damage braces or other orthodontic appliances.
It is impossible to list all the types of food that need to be avoided, so please use common sense in your selections.
If you experience a problem with a loose bracket, band, or other orthodontic appliance, please call us as soon as possible during regular office hours. That will allow us to schedule the additional time necessary for the repair.