If you have any type of orthodontic appliance, such as braces, clear aligners, fixed or removable plates or are wearing retainers, keeping your teeth clean is important. When daily routines are changed, it is easy to forget to do the things that we would normally do each day, but if you forget to clean your teeth properly you are more likely to get gum disease and tooth decay.
Brushing your teeth, three times a day, timed for five minutes with a little water, toothpaste and your toothbrush will go a long way. Make sure to do all the surfaces of your front and back teeth, including the biting surfaces of your teeth and those next to your tongue – not just where your braces are.
Push firmly enough to get your toothbrush past your braces and into your teeth and gums. Pay attention to the areas where your teeth and gums meet.
Change to a new toothbrush as soon as the toothbrush you are using no longer has straight even bristles and starts to look worn out or is more than a month old.
If your gums become red, sore and puffy then you need to slow down and clean these areas more – do not avoid them. The areas most missed are:
- Bottom front teeth, where you need to open your mouth slightly and pull your bottom lip away from your teeth, so you can clean these teeth and your braces more easily.
- The very back of your mouth, ensure that both your top and bottom back teeth are cleaned thoroughly.
We would prefer that you use a manual toothbrush morning and night and if you do use an electric toothbrush, then that can be used for the after lunchtime toothbrushing.
Also remember to use the small interdental (Christmas tree) brushes to clean between your teeth and around your braces and look in the mirror to make sure you’ve cleaned thoroughly each and every time. These brushes are available at Woolworths and some chemists.
You should also rinse your mouth with water after drinking any fizzy soft drinks, fruit juice, flavoured milk or energy drinks. These all contain sugar, which leads to tooth decay.