At Weber Orthodontics, we don’t have to tell you that keeping your teeth clean during treatment is very important. Braces have a habit of collecting additional food while eating that can cause a multitude of problems if not cared for correctly.
So you don’t offend others with unsightly food caught on your braces, or to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, decalcification or discoloring of teeth and cavities, here are are five tooth brushing tips from Dr. Ashlee Weber and our team for orthodontic patients to keep in mind while wearing braces:
- There is more to brush than what you see. Most patients spend their time brushing the parts of their teeth and the braces they can see. However, it’s just as important to clean the inside areas of your teeth as well as the chewing surface of each tooth. Brush all surfaces inside, outside, along the top of the teeth and the gum line for best results.
- Make sure you spend enough time doing a good job. Did you know the ADA recommends you brush your teeth for approximately two minutes to do a good job… even if you aren’t wearing braces? The average person brushes for 38 seconds thinking they have brushed for two minutes. At one point you may have received a two minute egg timer to time brushing from your dentist. It seems like the time will never end when watching the grains of salt flow to the bottom. Most popular songs today are approximately two minutes long. Listen to an IPOD or radio while you are brushing instead of using a timer. If you start brushing at the beginning of a song… and stop when it is over… you can dance around for two minutes while brushing, without the time dragging.
- Use dental floss often. Food is often trapped between teeth and flossing with braces is easier with a floss threader, especially when trying to thread the floss under your main wire. Dental floss threaders save time and are very easy to use once you get the hang of it. They are available in the toothbrush aisle in any grocery or drug store. You can also use dental floss sticks but make sure to buy the ones that are specifically designed for braces. These may be available at your local store or you can order them online. The samples we give to our patients are called Platypus Orthodontic Flossers.
- Be prepared. In order to brush after every meal you must be prepared. Always keep a toothbrush in your purse, backpack, or laptop case.
- Regular dental cleanings and checkups are still important. It’s your job to take care of the everyday cleaning. However, we recommend you visit your dentist regularly while wearing braces to eliminate any plaque you may have missed while brushing or using dental floss.