Plaque is the soft and sticky material that clings to the outer layer of the teeth and contains millions of bacteria. Those that do not brush and floss properly in order to remove plaque will increase their risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.
Brushing with Braces
It is notoriously difficult for patients with braces to keep their teeth clean, but failing to create impeccable oral hygiene habits could result in some oral health issues in the future. This begins by replacing old toothbrushes with a soft-bristled toothbrush that has a small head. This will allow you to clean around the braces in a much more efficient manner. You can brush the teeth at a 45 degree angle with circular motions above and below the brackets. Patients with braces may find that they are going through toothbrushes much quicker, and you should immediately purchase a new brush once the bristles have become frayed or damaged.
If you fail to clean away all of the plaque, then you may develop permanent white scars. Continue cleaning your teeth multiple times a day, and do not skip your bi-annual checkups which should include professional cleaning. Patients that find it difficult to keep their teeth clean may want to invest in an electric toothbrush or waterpik as well.
Flossing with Braces
Flossing after you have braces is a little more challenging than usual, but it is vital when it comes to great oral health. For most patients, waxed floss or dental tape will be ideal as unwaxed floss can fray and break. You start by carefully threading the floss through the wire, pulling it between the teeth, and then gently pushing it up towards the gum. Be careful that you are not putting too much pressure on the wire, which could cause the braces to come loose. You can then pull the floss up and down along each tooth four or five times, remove the floss, and then move on to the next set of teeth.
If you have found that it is difficult to thread the floss under the archwires, then you have two options. One option is to use a floss threader that helps you pull regular floss up between the teeth and the wire. The second option is to use pre-cut floss with a stiff end that will give you a better grip and more control over the floss.