When you examine your new braces carefully you will see many places where food can be trapped leading to decalcification, decay and gum problems. If you do not take sufficient time to clean your teeth or if you are using a poor brushing technique permanent damage to the tooth enamel can occur. Areas on the enamel surface will begin to decalcify leaving unsightly white marks that eventually can progress to decay. If trapped food and plaque is left on and around the teeth and braces this may also cause swollen bleeding gums (gingivitis) and bad breath.
Instructions on oral hygiene
- You must clean your teeth and gums after every time you eat. This means after all meals and snacks, so a toothbrush must be taken to school or work.
- How often do I clean my teeth? After every time you eat
- How long do I brush my teeth? Minimum 3 minutes
- When Do I use disclosing tablets? Once (1) per week unless otherwise advised
When you clean your teeth try to do it systematically eg left to right, upper teeth and then lower teeth. First the biting surface to soften the bristles, then the inside surface. Clean the outside surfaces where the brackets are attached with a circular motion, cleaning one tooth at a time. The interspace brush is useful for cleaning around the braces under the archwire. After you have finished, rinse with water and check all those crevices and areas around the braces to ensure they are cleaned satisfactorily. When the tooth brush becomes shaggy it needs replacing.
Manual Toothbrush and Intradental brushes
Use a small soft bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste. Take this to work/school to use after you have eaten your morning tea, lunch etc.
(you can find them at Boots, SuperDrug or even dental hygiene stand in any grocery shop)
After thorough brushing take one tablet and chew it up to mix with saliva. DO NOT SWALLOW. Use your tongue to rub the solution over the portion of the tooth between the gum and braces. Spit out the dye and rinse your mouth once with water. Look in the mirror. If there is any plaque on your teeth it will be stained purple/pink colour. Now brush your teeth again paying particular attention to the coloured areas.
You can use special dental, Superfoss, with braces. This floss is designed to thread under the wire through the spaces in your braces. Please ask if you are unsure how this works.