image3After beginning orthodontic treatment such as braces, it may be difficult to stick to a healthy oral hygiene regimen. You want to be prepared when embarking on this teeth straightening journey and arrive to your monthly orthodontist appointments in our Scarborough office healthy and ready—but how do you optimally take care of your teeth and gums during treatment? It’s easy for food to get trapped underneath your braces. As a result, you run the risk of plaque build-up, gum disease, tooth decay, and irritations given by the brackets on your teeth. Not to worry though! Here are some rules you should stick to during your orthodontic treatment.

Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is rule number one in daily oral hygiene, even if you don’t have braces. This practice serves to clean the surface of your teeth and gums in order to get rid of food or acids that have been left behind after you’ve completed your meals. Now that you’re undergoing this orthodontic treatment, there are three different ways we suggest brushing your teeth in order to maintain the health of those pearly whites!

Use Toothpaste with Fluoride

You may wonder what sort of special toothpaste you should use when wearing braces. Don’t stress! You can find the toothpaste you need in your local North Scarborough supermarket. You only need to search for a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which is something that most dental brands carry. The reason we specifically suggest brushing your teeth using a toothpaste with added fluoride is because fluoride is a mineral that is good for dental health and can replace minerals lost during the consummation of acidic or aggressive foods and drinks. You should be brushing your teeth 4 times a day to maintain excellent oral health. Recommended times include:

  • In the morning – After you’ve woken up, you may realize you have bad breath. The reason for this is that overnight your mouth accumulates bacteria, which can eat away at your enamel. We recommend brushing your teeth after you’ve woken up or preferably after you’ve eaten your breakfast accordingly.
  • After lunch – It’s certainly best to brush your teeth after you’ve had your meal so the food particles don’t have a chance to sit between your dental wires, brackets, or gums. If you don’t have a chance to do brush immediately after lunch, or you don’t make it a habit to have a dental kit with you at all times, we highly suggest brushing your teeth as soon as you get home from school or work.
  • After dinner –Again, remember to brush your teeth after mealtimes, as this is when you run a higher risk of leaving something behind between your braces once you’ve completed your meal.
  • Before bedtime –As soon as you’ve decided that you’re going to retire for the night and not enjoy any more snacks or drinks (other than water), you should head to the bathroom and brush your teeth. This may be the most important time of day to brush your teeth, as this is the final time you’ll be brushing your teeth for the day and may be able to remove some good or bacteria that you’ve missed. Additionally, since you are about to be physically inactive, your mouth will be still for the night and, once again, begin to accumulate bacteria. Brushing your teeth before going to sleep is beneficial so that your mouth doesn’t begin to accrue bacteria as quickly.

We also suggest that you don’t purchase and use toothpaste that includes teeth whitening properties. Remember—your dental brackets have been cemented to a portion of your teeth and will not be exposed to the teeth whitening solution, which may result in different colored areas of your teeth whenever you finally remove your braces.

Brush with an Interdental Toothbrush

An interdental toothbrush is a toothbrush that doesn’t have the plastic head at the end. Instead, it is composed of a small metal rod surrounded by thin bristles. The difference between a regular toothbrush and an interdental toothbrush is that the interdental toothbrush allows for the user to get in between the wires of their braces and their teeth. This type of toothbrush comes in very handy when you have stubborn food particles that are hard to reach and need to be coaxed out. Please note, however, not to be too aggressive with this tool. You must brush gently in between the wires and at safe angles so that you don’t accidentally damage your orthodontist's work.

Utilize Topical Fluoride

Topical fluoride is a dental solution in the form of a gel that contains special ingredients to improve your overall teeth health and keep your dental hygiene track. This gel has numerous benefits for your teeth, such as:

  • Replacing lost minerals in your teeth
  • Avoiding dental decay
  • Killing harmful bacteria on your teeth
  • Preventing cavities
  • Creating stronger tooth enamel

Although this practice doesn’t replace regular brushing of the teeth, it does enhance dental health and should be performed at the end of the night, before bedtime. This regimen should be executed as follows:

  • Place a small dime-sized portion of fluoride on your toothbrush and brush your teeth for 1 minute.
  • After you’ve brushed your teeth with the solution, spit out any excess saliva or residue left behind by the gel.
  • Be sure to allow the formula to sit on your teeth for 30 minutes after you’ve spit. The gel contains active ingredients that must have time to complete their work on your teeth. This means no eating, drinking, or rinsing during this time.
  • After 30 minutes have lapsed, you may rinse once more or have a drink of water.

Flossing Your Teeth

image2Flossing when you have braces can be a tricky job, but no need to fear! There are some useful appliances that you can use during your orthodontic treatment. Flossing is important because it lets you reach places that a regular toothbrush or your interdental toothbrush won’t be able to reach, no matter how hard you try. Dental floss is a thin cord that will work its way in between your teeth and up to your gum line. This tool is specifically used for removing food particles that are trapped in between your teeth and gums, in comparison to in between your dental braces and teeth. There are many different floss tool choices on in the market, but the one that is most commonly used by people with braces is a reusable floss threader. A floss threader grasps a portion of floss and allows the user to easily slip the cord under and around the wires of braces. Be sure to floss daily and gently. Again, you don’t want to accidentally damage your orthodontist’s work and cause a wire to pop out of your brackets.

Rinsing Your Teeth

Rinsing your teeth can be done in a number of ways, such as using a cup of water to swish in your mouth or purchasing a water flosser to target specific areas of your mouth. One of the best methods is to use an antibacterial mouthwash. We recommend purchasing a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouthwash, as this rinse will help kill bacteria, decrease inflammation and irritation in your mouth, and prevent infection from any damage done by your braces (such as cheek scrapes or canker sores). This dental solution is easy to find and can be located in your North Scarborough corner store. We recommend using it up to 4 times a day, typically after you’ve brushed your teeth!

Contact Our North Scarborough Team for Additional Information!

Our team is on standby to assist you with questions you may have about oral hygiene, and other oral topics like foods to avoid with braces, common orthodontic problems, and anything else that comes to mind related to your orthodontic treatment. For more information on oral hygiene or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 416-497-2122 or email us at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!