Proper brushing and flossing are two of the most important aspects of orthodontic treatment. When you eat, food particles will get stuck in your braces and allow bacteria to form.
Bacteria, combined with the sugars and saliva in your mouth allows for more rapid tooth decay. It also wears down the enamel on your teeth. Colorado Orthodontics knows that this is a common problem, and that the best way to prevent it is to brush and floss with due diligence.
What Proper Brushing and Flossing Prevent:
- Gingivitis (gum disease), which erodes gums and causes discomfort.
- Cavities from bacteria digging holes in your enamel. If untreated, the gaps are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
- Stains from foods and beverages such as tea and coffee.
- Halitosis (aka bad breath) which indicates other health problems
Proper Brushing Information
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you brush at least twice a day with a soft bristle brush. Individuals should choose a brush with soft, rounded bristles and has the ADA seal of approval. Studies indicate there being little difference between an electric and manual toothbrush.
Oral water flossers can help remove loose food particles from brackets, however, proper brushing will still be needed in order to remove plaque. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months.
How to Brush Properly
- Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where the tooth and gums meet.
- Use small circular motions to gently brush teeth and the soft tissue of your gums.
- Avoid too much pressure and scrubbing. This damages enamel and can wear down the gumline.
While brushing well is important, it does not get the bits of food between your teeth. Flossing allows you to remove these pieces and plaque between your teeth before they decay and breed bacteria. Toothbrushes cannot fully reach the areas between teeth which is why flossing matters. There are multiple kinds of floss available, though we prefer the wax-coated kind.
How to Floss Properly
- Make sure to clean areas between the teeth in the front and back of the mouth. Some bleeding may occur at first. Over time, however, the bleeding should stop. If bleeding persists, contact your dentist immediately
- Use a piece of floss between 17 and 18 inches long. Wrap each end around your middle fingers. Continue to wrap each end until you can place your index finger on the floss, and they are four to five inches apart.
- With care, use the floss between the contacts of the teeth toward the gumline.
- Once the floss is past the contact, curve it around each individual tooth and move it up and down to remove any plaque.
Contact Your Arvada, Thornton, Aurora, and Highlands Ranch, CO Orthodontist
For any additional questions you may have, especially regarding flossing or brushing with braces, please reach out to us today! We are here to answer your questions and help in any way possible.