It is always important to look after your teeth and gums, but even more so while wearing braces. This is because braces have tiny gaps where food particles and plaque get stuck. Insufficient cleaning can lead to discolouring of the enamel, cavities in the teeth and swollen gum tissue prone to infection.
To maintain good oral hygiene during your time wearing braces, it is best to get into the habit of brushing your teeth after every meal. This may sound like a lot of hassle, but it is worth it. It only takes 48 hours for gingivitis to form and although this condition can be cured it can also be prevented, by keeping your mouth nice and clean.
Before you start brushing, rinse your mouth with some water. This helps to get rid of any loose food particle. Swill the water round, spit it out then repeat. Now you need to rinse your toothbrush, ensuring there are no bits of food hiding in the bristles. Hot water also helps to kill germs. Put some toothpaste onto your toothbrush and push it into the bristles with your tongue. This makes it last longer and stops it from falling off mid-brush.
Brushing Your Teeth
Begin by brushing your bottom jaw, tilting the bristles towards the top of your mouth. Start at the back, on the outside of the teeth where your braces are. Move the brush gently back and forth, gradually moving upwards to thoroughly clean your brackets. Do this across all your lower teeth and repeat it with the bristles angled downward so you can get at the underside of your braces. Finish by brushing with all the bristles facing the teeth. Spit whenever you feel it is necessary.
Take the same approach with your upper jaw but in reverse, starting with the outside of your upper back teeth, bristles angled downwards. Then again but bristles angled upwards, and finally directly onto the teeth.
Open your mouth wide so you can access the very back of your mouth and brush right into all the nooks and crannies of your molars, and wisdom teeth if you have any. Be sure to get right behind your back teeth – this is the side exposed to your throat and also one of the main starting points for bad breath.
Now brush the insides of all your teeth. Back and forth, up and down, then in circular motions. Turn your toothbrush up long-ways to get in between the teeth.
Brushing Your Mouth
It is easy to forget that oral hygiene means cleaning the entire mouth, not just the teeth. Again, this is especially important if you are wearing braces. Give your toothbrush a good rinse before moving onto the softer tissues. Then gently brush your gums and the inside of your cheeks. The latter might be a little tricky so use one hand to hold your mouth open at the side.
Many toothbrushes now have textured rubber on the back of the head so that you can brush your tongue. So use it.
Once you have finished brushing your teeth and mouth, get some flossing thread and wrap it around your finger, wiggling it into each tooth space. This will get into the tiny places that brushes can’t always reach. If you have finishing wires then it will be almost impossible to get the floss beyond them, so just go as far as you can into the tooth space. If you don’t have finishing wires then thread the floss underneath and over the wires – this is the most effective way to clean your teeth and get rid of gingivitis.
Finish cleaning by swilling your mouth with mouthwash for at least 30 seconds, then rinse with some fresh water.
If you’ve recently had braces, or think you might need braces, then look no further than Smile Pad. We offer orthodontic treatments in Salisbury, Chertsey, London and Bristol.