We understand that committing to a long-term orthodontic appliance is a big step for our patients. No matter which treatment option you choose, the team at your local Barrington, Portsmouth, and Bristol orthodontist office wants to see you through the process with best practices for optimal correction results. However, we can’t do it alone! You must do your part in maintaining good oral hygiene as well. Following our guidelines could even allow you to shorten your treatment time.
When you are using corrective devices, keeping your teeth and mouth clean is of the utmost importance. Here are some of the actions you should plan to take regularly:
When you are wearing braces, your toothbrush just can’t reach all the nooks and crannies it used to. Fortunately, you have several other options for keeping your mouth clean. You can try these:
We hope these guidelines have explained the importance of and process for maintaining your oral hygiene after being fitted with braces. If we can answer any questions or help you along the way, please contact us any time. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Good brushing is the primary mechanism in removing food debris and plaque from around orthodontic appliances and teeth. It is important that orthodontic patients thoroughly clean their teeth with a toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste for a minimum of 2 minutes after EVERY meal (at least 3 times a day). If used properly, a manual toothbrush with a special orthodontic bristle configuration can successfully clean around braces; however, we find that electric toothbrushes are less technique sensitive, and may be helpful to those who may not be quite as meticulous.
Another useful tool in maintaining oral hygiene with braces is a WaterPik® Water Flosser. These devices work by using a tiny, high-pressure stream of water to clean in between teeth, and can help remove food debris and plaque from areas where your toothbrush simply cannot reach. It is also very helpful with cleaning under and around appliances such as palatal expanders.
A Proxabrush is an interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush that can clean underneath and around your wires and braces. Use the Proxabrush carefully to avoid causing damage to your brackets and wires. The Proxabrush is another way to help clean your braces and appliances while maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Every patient who begins braces in our office is given a prescription for a special “fluoride booster” toothpaste the day the braces are applied. This special toothpaste is used once a day following brushing with normal toothpaste. Supercharged with a healthy dose of fluoride, a mineral your teeth need to stay healthy, it provides an extra level of protection against cavities.
When you are finished brushing and flossing, it can be helpful to use mouthwash if that is part of your normal regimen – we recommend an alcohol-free product, such as Crest Total Care. A pre-brush rinse, such as Plax, can also be used before brushing to loosen the plaque and make it easier to remove during brushing. If there is any mouth irritation from the braces, you may also rinse with Peroxyl, a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse. This will reduce inflammation to your gums and cheeks and help prevent infection and decrease irritation that can develop from your braces.
Always be sure to brush your Invisalign aligners and retainers every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. Food particles and plaque can accumulate on your appliance just as they do on your teeth, so we ask that you soak the appliance as needed using a specialized retainer cleaner like Retainer Brite.
If you have any further questions regarding oral hygiene or would like to schedule an appointment with us, feel free to use our online form or contact us at our Barrington or Portsmouth, RI office. We look forward to seeing your smile!