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Oral Hygiene for Braces

Orthodontic treatment is performed to
straighten and properly align the teeth and jaws. After the teeth have been
straightened, they’re generally much easier to take care of. Cleaning around
orthodontic brackets and bands can be challenging, but it’s very important to
prevent tooth decay and frosty white demineralized spots from damaging the
teeth during treatment – which can last a couple of years. A floss threader is a flexible, yet rigid
plastic tool used to pass dental floss beneath the arch wires so that plaque
can be removed from between the teeth. After you’ve passed it between the
adjacent teeth, use an up-and-down motion to remove the plaque. Be sure to floss
between all of the teeth every day using this device. An interdental brush can
remove plaque from around the brackets and in the triangular-shaped space
formed by the arch wires and two adjacent teeth. Combined with regular
tooth brushing, these devices can help keep the teeth and gums healthy, so that
when the braces are removed, the teeth will look their best.
When brushing teeth with bands and brackets, it’s especially important to
clean beneath the gumline. Otherwise, the gums may become inflamed, swell up and
make it more difficult to insert a brush at all. Angle the bristle tips beneath the gum
level, gently wiggle the brush across just a few teeth at a time, and sweep the
plaque away. If the brackets are positioned at the gumline, a toothpick
may be useful to help remove the plaque. Gently draw the pick along the gumline,
with its tip beneath the brackets. To avoid injuries, don’t poke the toothpick
forcefully into the gums. Dental health professionals sometimes recommend other
techniques for cleaning the teeth during orthodontic treatment, including oral
irrigation devices and mechanical toothbrushes. Oral rinses, topical
fluoride, and other preventive solutions may also be suggested. In some cases, it
may be a good idea to consider having the teeth professionally cleaned more
frequently during orthodontic treatment. If you have any questions, be sure to ask
your oral health professional.

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