Dental Braces and Hygiene

Braces will help you to straighten your teeth and give you the perfect smile, but they will not protect against decay.

Whilst braces are being worn, it is vital that you don’t forget your tooth hygiene, so that you can keep your teeth and gums free from bacteria.  The bacteria are known as plaque, which is harmful to your teeth and can cause cavities.  So – how do you maintain a good standard of cleanliness whilst using braces?

What you need:

Firstly, be sure to have a toothbrush which is small enough to get round the braces.  The bristles should be soft, with a flat brushing surface made of polished nylon.  If you’re in doubt, just ask your dentist.  

Secondly, use a toothpaste containing fluoride, and, last of all, be sure to floss with dental floss.  Don’t improvise!  

Brushing Frequency

This is probably not your usual routine, but it is down to you if you want to maintain a healthy mouth whilst using braces.  To do so, brushing is required FIVE times a day for at least FIVE minutes per brushing.   Routine is best, for example on waking up, 30 minutes after each meal, and just before going to bed.

Brushing Correctly

  1. Brush at a 45 degree angle over the top of your braces, back and forth, aiming at your teeth.
  2. Brush facing upwards under the bracket, back and forth.
  3. Brush all of the biting surface and the inside surfaces near your tongue – and brush your tongue.
  4. Remember to use a circling motion when you brush your gums.

How to Floss

The difference when you have braces is that you must thread the floss under the arch wire and between the teeth.  Floss each side of each tooth in the space.  Pull out the floss each time and repeat.  If you have difficulty with this process, then please ask for advice at your dentist’s surgery.

Remember also that bacteria – plaque – are invisible, stick to your teeth and love sugary foods, which they then turn to acid.  If the acid is allowed to stay there, it attacks your tooth enamel.  Acid attack!  This is what causes cavities and sore gums. 

 Don’t Eat these foods.  If you do, you might break your braces or dislodge them:

  • Corn on the cob
  • Caramels or toffee
  • Bagels (cut them into pieces)
  • Ice (do not chew it)
  • Whole raw carrots (cut them into strips)
  • Peanut brittle
  • Hard tack candy
  • Whole hard apples (cut them into pieces)
  • Popcorn
  • Gum of any kind  

Remember:  If you find yourself without a toothbrush for any reason, you should vigorously rinse your mouth with water several times.

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