Brush, Brush, Brush!!!
Brushing your teeth is even more important when you are wearing braces. Food can get stuck on your braces and cause staining, tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Here are some suggestions on when and how to brush your teeth with braces . . .
Type of Toothbrush:
You can use any brand of toothbrush you like, but it should have lots of soft bristles. Change your toothbrush often, no less than every three months. Toothbrushes are cheap compared to cavities.
If you prefer to use an electric toothbrush, that is fine. Braun/Oral-B, Interplak, and SonicCare all make effective electric toothbrushes. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric is a personal choice. Properly used, either is effective. If you choose an electric, remember that the brush heads need to be changed as frequently as a manual toothbrush, so keep several spares on hand. A worn out head is ineffective and will not remove plaque properly.
Type of Toothpaste:
Any toothpaste that has fluoride is satisfactory. You should choose toothpaste that will motivate you to brush. In addition, it's really good to use an over-the-counter fluoride rinse (like ACT or Colgate) every day, per instructions on the bottle, to strengthen your enamel while wearing braces.
Flossing while you are wearing braces is more difficult, but well worth it. You will need a floss threader or superfloss in order to floss more easily. We will give you some and you can get these at any drugstore. But remember, the most important step in good oral hygiene with braces is to brush a lot.
Frequency of Brushing:
- Brush at least four to five times a day following this schedule:
- As soon as you wake up, brush really well (at least four minutes). Plaque has had all night to build up on your teeth. Do this before you get dressed or eat breakfast so you won't be rushed.
- After breakfast, give a quick brush. This is to remove breakfast from your teeth.
- After school, brush really well again. Plaque has been sitting on your teeth since the morning.
- After dinner, another quickie.
- Before you go to bed, scrub 'em good. Now is the time to floss!
Always remember to not only brush your teeth, but your gums and tongue too!!! Poorly cleaned gums are just as bad as poorly cleaned teeth. They will become puffy, red, and have a tendency to bleed. So, attend to your gums during every brushing session.
The schedule we have suggested takes very little time. Keeping your teeth and gums well cleaned will eliminate bad breath, puffy and unhealthy gums, damage to your teeth, and will speed up the removal of your braces.
Dr. Tsibel's RULE OF 4’S (for oral hygiene with braces):
- Brush at least 4 times a day
- Brush for at least 4 minutes each time
- Floss at least 4 days a week (you should try and floss every single day, at very least 4 days/week)
- See your family dentist for cleanings every 4 months
If you are not cleaning your teeth properly, you may notice one or more of the following:
- Redness along the gumline
- Swollen and puffy gums
- Bleeding when brushing and flossing
- Plaque (food and bacteria) around your brackets and near your gumline
By following these instructions for proper brushing and flossing, your teeth and gums will remain clean and healthy.
If you have any questions, please be sure to ask one of us. Once you get your braces we will give you lots of handouts and detailed, personal instructions on how to keep your teeth clean with braces - IT'S THAT IMPORTANT!!!