Oral Hygiene

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Now that you have your braces or your expander in place, it is even more important to be dedicated to good oral hygiene! Braces, wires, bands and expanders can all trap food particles and make it more difficult to brush or floss away plaque. If plaque is not carefully removed from your teeth and around your braces, you run the risk of developing gum disease, decay, bad breath and permanent marks on your teeth. Here are some important tips for cleaning your teeth and braces.

Brushing

Brushing_oral.jpgBrush your teeth 3-4 times each day for about 3-4 minutes each time you brush.

Step 1: Start with the outside of the teeth, with the brush at a straight angle. Use circular, vibrating motions.

Step 2: Clean the area between the gums and braces by angling the brush down (or up for the lower jaw). Keep moving in small circular motions.

Step 3: Clean the rest of the outside of the teeth by angling the brush up (or down for the lower jaw).

Step 4: Carefully brush the chewing surface of both the upper and lower teeth.

Step 5: Finish by brushing the inside of the teeth.

Flossing

Flossing_Oral.jpgStep 1: Floss at least once a day. The floss needs to be pulled under the archwire. A floss threader facilitates this. Start by pulling floss through the threader.

Step 2: Push the end of the floss threader under the archwire and pull the floss through.

Step 3: Pull the floss up between the teeth and gently move it up and down the side of both teeth. Remember to move it up all the way under the gums.

Step 4: Pull the floss out and use a different section of it for the next tooth.

Rinsing

Rinsing_Oral.jpgWhen you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth carefully with water or an antiseptic dental rinse, like Peroxyl.

An antiseptic dental rinse can help minor gum inflammations and irritations from orthodontic appliances. It is also helpful to cleanse canker sores, minor wounds and other mouth and gum irritations. This mouth rinse removes debris, enabling natural healing to occur.

Interdental Toothbrush

InterdentalToothbrush_Oral.jpgAn interdental toothbrush (proxabrush) is another aid you might find useful in keeping your teeth, braces and gums clean and healthy. It can be used to clean under orthodontic wires and around braces. Use this device slowly and carefully so you do not damage your braces.

Topical Fluoride

Phos-Flur is a sodium fluoride gel that helps prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces by killing bacteria and replacing minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to harmful acids. The use of Phos-Flur does not replace daily brushing and flossing but should be done following your daily schedule at bedtime. Place a small strip of Phos-Flur on a toothbrush and apply it to your teeth for one minute and spit it out. You may not eat or drink for 30 minutes after you use Phos-Flur. It is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes, so do not wash it away by eating or drinking.

Brushing Your Appliance or Retainer

Retainer_Oral.jpgYour appliance or retainer needs to be cleaned at least once per day (but it can be cleaned more frequently). To clean your appliance (retainer), hold it gently in the palm of your hand and brush both the top and bottom surfaces of your appliance. We recommend using liquid hand soap on a toothbrush to clean your appliance (retainer). You can also use a soaking table (like Efferdent, Polident or Retainer-brite) several times per week to clean your appliance (retainer). Only soak your appliance (retainer) for 10-15 minutes, brush and rinse it well. Never place in boiling or hot water.

Dr. Krishnan and his staff are committed to giving you a beautiful, healthy smile! We are always happy to answer any questions you might have on the care and cleaning of your teeth, appliances and braces. Our office specializes in Orthodontic care and treatment to patients in Calvert County and the surrounding counties of St. Mary’s, Charles, and Prince George’s.