Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
Brushing and flossing while you have braces is best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile. By removing plaque, you are removing a source of bacteria, which if left on your teeth, will combine with sugar from your diet to produce acid. This acid can cause decalcification of the tooth enamel leading to permanent white spots, cavities, and gingivitis.
If cavities or gingivitis develop your treatment will take longer because Dr. Ritucci will need to remove brackets so that the cavity can be restored. Puffy and swollen gums also make it harder for the teeth to move. Though it is time consuming, brushing and flossing will help you achieve your new smile faster in the long run.
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. Brush in a circular motion around the braces and near the gums. If you use a manual toothbrush, angle the brush head around the braces and move it up, down, forward, and backward. If you use an electronic toothbrush, hold the brush on the tooth while the brush head moves and vibrates to remove the plaque. You will still have to angle the brush head near the gums.
Dr. Ritucci and our team recommend that you brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque on your teeth and braces:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After supper
- At bedtime
Flossing Your Teeth with Braces
Floss your teeth at least once a day, preferably at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day.
Use the reusable floss threader provided by Dr. Ritucci to floss under your archwire daily. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the side of each tooth. Use care around your archwire and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it. After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between your other teeth and gums. Floss in an up and down motion between the teeth (never a sawing motion).
If you are not using a floss threader, pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.
When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment at our Plymouth or Sandwich, MA office.