At Pure Dental Arts, Patients with orthodontic braces often wonder about the best way to keep their teeth clean. After all, braces may contribute to a higher risk of cavities and gum disease if the patient doesn’t know how to clean her teeth properly. We will discuss how to do it here!
Frequently, after orthodontic treatment is completed and the brackets have been removed, we often see white marks left on the teeth, as well as swollen gums with possible chronic gum disease. These white spots occur 25% of the time. These regions are areas where the enamel has been demineralized, and is a precursor to cavities (caries). The main cause is inadequate cleaning.
Research has shown that electronic toothbrushes (think Sonicare or Oral B) showed greater brushing efficacy. However, proper brushing times, understanding of proper bristle positioning i.e. technique are still incredibly important. You should brush for the full 2 minutes, 1 minute per arch (upper and lower). Also the bristles must be positioned at a 45 degree angle to the gum line. The idea is to not only clean a little beneath the gumline, but to also clean the region just above where the orthodontic brackets are bonded to the tooth, as this edged area has a tendency to collect tremendous amounts of plaque.
It is important to brush with a fluoride tooth paste at least two times per day, after each meal, for a minimum of 2 minutes per session. You want to ensure that you brush all the teeth surfaces, front, back, and the chewing surfaces also. Special attention needs to be paid to the region between the wires and the teeth, and between the gums and the bracket, as that is where most of the food debris collects!
We also highly recommend regular flossing. Due to the wires and brackets, conventional floss will not work, you will need to implement floss threaders. It’s a bit like threading a needle, you insert one and of the floss (which has a plastic tip) underneath the arch wire. You then grab the floss on each end and work it in between the teeth until you have removed the plaque.
You may also want to implement other manual tools to aid in your efforts
A) Interdental tooth brush: it looks like a mini pipe cleaner. Use this to gently scrub in between the teeth, in all the nooks and crannies.
B) Water pick: this is a device that ejects a stream of water under pressure which can help free up pieces of food and “gunk” that has collected around your teeth and braces. Keep in mind it is not a substitute for brushing/flossing.
To find out more how to clean around braces, call Pure Dental Arts at 2064868600 today!.
- Hock Hoe Goh and Bridget Double day. Aids for mechanical cleaning of teeth with fixed braces. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. January 2018. CD012931
- Franz Martin Sander et. Al. Dental care during orthodontic treatment with electric toothbrushes. J Orofac Orthop. September 2006