At Lingenbrink Orthodontics, we want to help give all of our patients in and around Port Orchard, Bremerton, and Gig Harbor a straighter and healthier smile. To do so, we’re proud to offer a wide variety of orthodontic treatments, from braces to Invisalign. However, attaining a healthy smile isn’t simply about the orthodontics – it requires a commitment to oral hygiene as well. If you happen to be undergoing orthodontic treatment, we’d like to take the time to teach you how to brush and floss with braces properly in addition to showing you other ways that you can make sure that your oral hygiene stays at its optimal level.
Brushing with Braces
The most important part of proper oral hygiene is your daily brushing. When you’re wearing braces, it’s doubly important…literally! While you may regularly brush your teeth twice a day, we recommend brushing four times a day (after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and before bed) when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces. The reason for this is because your braces contain many crevices in them where food particles can get trapped and cause plaque to build up. You’ll want to use a soft-bristled or bi-level toothbrush and carefully brush every exposed area of your teeth, making sure to angle the brush to point down behind the brackets.
Flossing with Braces
Daily flossing is just as important for your oral hygiene when you’re wearing braces. The big difference now though is that flossing will take a little more time and finesse. Instead of flossing like normal, you’ll likely need to use a floss threader, which is a small plastic loop with a long end. You’ll want to thread the floss through the eye of the loop and then run the long end under the archwire of your braces. Pull the floss through so that it’s under the archwire and when it is, you can proceed flossing normally. Continue this process for each gap between your teeth.
If you’re having a hard time flossing with dental floss, we recommend using an interdental toothbrush, also known as a Proxabrush. This is a small, pine-tree shaped brush that can dislodge bits of food from between your teeth or under your brackets and archwires. They’re great at getting to any of the hard-to-reach areas in your mouth. Just make sure to use it gently to avoid causing any damage to your gums or your braces.
In addition to your daily brushing and flossing, we may also recommend additional treatment with a topical fluoride gel. Fluoride is a vital mineral for your teeth that helps restore the integrity of your enamel and prevent cavities. If you end up requiring fluoride, you’ll simply apply it by placing a small strip of it onto your toothbrush. Then, you’ll just apply it to your teeth for one minute before spitting out the gel. For maximum effectiveness, make sure not to wash your mouth out and avoid eating or drinking anything for the next 30 minutes so it will have time to seep into your teeth.
To reduce the chance that an infection may develop from wearing braces, we recommend using a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse, such as Peroxyl, after you brush. Peroxyl will help fight bacteria and prevent cavities. This can also help with irritations that are caused by your braces such as canker sores, bitten cheeks, or gum tenderness. For proper usage, swish two teaspoons of Peroxyl around your mouth for a minute and then spit it out. You may use it up to four times a day – once after every meal and then once before bed.
If you’re in the retention phase of your treatment – or if you’re using Invisalign – it will be critical to keep your removable appliance clean in the same way as you do for your teeth. Thankfully, this isn’t a difficult process at all. In order to keep your removable appliance clean, you’ll need to brush and soak your appliance daily. To soak your appliance, you can place it in a glass of water with a denture-cleaning tablet like Polident or Efferdent.
Invisalign: A Second Option
One of the largest benefits of Invisalign treatment is the fact that brushing and flossing is a lot easier because there are no fixed orthodontic systems, and you’re able to brush and floss as you normally would. Nevertheless, Dr. Lingenbrink will discuss which type of braces he believes is best for your orthodontic treatment.
Contact Your Port Orchard, Bremerton, and Gig Harbor Orthodontist!
If you have any further questions on how to maintain your oral hygiene with braces, we encourage you to contact us. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment, please don’t hesitate to fill out our online appointment request form or give us a call at one of our three convenient locations. Our Bremerton office phone number is (360) 692-4811, our Port Orchard office phone number is (360) 895-9099, and our Gig Harbor office phone number is (253) 851-8890. We hope to hear from you soon!