Hygiene during orthodontic treatment
Teeth brushing during treatment with braces
Braces are very susceptible to food residue gathering and plaque forming. Most often, plaque forms between teeth, in chewing surface grooves and on gum borders, during brace treatment also around brackets and dots, under arch and springs and along wire. Failure to remove plaque may lead to tartar, caries, decay of tooth enamel and gingival problems.
Teeth should be brushed thoroughly in the morning (after breakfast is a must) and in the evening before bed time. It is recommended to clean teeth after every meal or at least rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. After brushing inspect the result in the mirror. If you see food residue around the braces, brush your teeth again.
There is a special toothbrush for braces with V-shaped bristles – the outer bristles are slightly longer than the middle ones. This kind of brush makes it easier to clean the teeth around braces. E.g. Oral B Ortho toothbrush is a good choice.
Electric toothbrush can be used, but you need to make sure you do not hit the braces with the plastic head of the toothbrush.
While brushing, toothbrush bristles should be tilted at a 45° angle towards the gum line and moved back and forth with circular movements. Hold the toothbrush in vertical position and move up and down when cleaning the inner surfaces of front teeth.
It is recommended to use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen tooth enamel. In case of increased caries risk your dentist may also recommend a fluoride mouthwash. During orthodontic treatment the best choice is an anti-plaque mouthwash, which makes plaque removal easier.
You can also find special so-called orthodontic toothpastes, which contain agents that help to reduce mucosa irritation caused by braces and promote healing of mucosa.
Interdental brushes help you access hard to reach areas, e.g. between the teeth. They are also very helpful when cleaning between the braces and under orthodontic arch.
Use dental floss
Once a day you should use dental floss, preferably Superfloss. Unlike regular dental floss, Superfloss is pre-cut and packed in required lengths. This floss consists of three different sections. The first section is regular dental floss. The middle section is a bit thicker and hairier, helping to remove plaque under orthodontic appliances. Superfloss also has a stiffer end that helps to insert the floss under elements of braces.
Watch a video about using dental floss here: -
Results of poor hygiene
If you are lucky, poor hygiene during treatment with braces will result only in formation of white spots on teeth. Decalcification spots are most often visible after braces are removed. In the worst case you can get caries and gum problems. The spots may pigment over time and turn yellowish-brown. This is permanent damage.
Watch a video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1qV8QNMzY4
Poor hygiene and gingivitis slow down movement of teeth and prolong treatment. Constant poor hygiene may result in premature interruption of orthodontic treatment in order to avoid more extensive dental damage.