Published on May 3, 2016, Updated on November 13, 2017
Our goal at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is to keep your mouth healthy and your smile bright throughout your orthodontic treatment and this relies heavily on your commitment to proper oral hygiene. We provide you with the patient education you need, but you have to commit to doing the work in between visits to achieve real success. To help you obtain and maintain these advised oral hygiene health standards, we believe in educating you on the principles, techniques, tools, and regular maintenance needs to keep your oral health at its best. Your home oral hygiene efforts coupled with our efforts at our Erie office can help you avoid the negative effects of cavities, gum disease, enamel wear and more.
Using a soft bristle toothbrush with toothpaste, move the toothbrush in small circles, angling the toothbrush along the gum line. This technique will reach the nooks and crannies of your teeth and braces, removing debris. Do not forget to brush your chewing surfaces, the inside of your teeth, and your tongue. Since healthy gums should not bleed when brushing with a soft bristle toothbrush, bleeding indicates areas that are inflamed and should be brushed more thoroughly and more often. Finally, remember to massage the gums while you are brushing as well. Patients with braces should keep in mind that they have many more areas to clean and should plan on spending a longer time brushing their teeth. These patients may consider using a proxy brush (see image) to reach under the wire and in between brackets.
Flossing is a very important aspect of oral hygiene, and shouldn’t be glossed over even though with braces flossing may be more time consuming. Patients with braces should set aside 10-15 minutes each evening for flossing. With practice, the time it takes to floss with braces will be reduced. We recommend using a floss threader to make it easier to clean under the wire of your braces. Many patients find it easier to start from their gums and angle towards the tip of the teeth. Once the floss is threaded under the wire, wrap the floss around your fingers and floss in between your teeth as normal. Make sure to guide the floss along the entire length of your teeth as well as in between your teeth and your gums.
Additional Oral Hygiene Accessories
For patients who thoroughly brush and floss, additional oral hygiene materials may not be needed. However, accessories such as the proxy brush or toothpicks may still be useful to ensure your teeth remain as healthy as possible. Patients may want to consider an antibacterial mouth rinse or fluoride mouth rinse. A Waterpik® can also assist in removing food debris and massaging the gums.