If you are currently undergoing, or about to start orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth, you may be wondering about the best way to keep your teeth and braces clean during this time.
With a wide variety of orthodontic treatments available to suit each individual case, braces come in many different styles and materials, from fixed to removable, metal to ceramic. Whatever the system being used to improve your smile, one thing remains the same – the need to ensure excellent oral health during treatment.
Why is oral health so important during orthodontic treatment?
At all times, your teeth are under attack from the sugar and acid found in food and drink, which causes the protective enamel on your teeth to wear away. Once this enamel erodes, the teeth become receptive to bacteria which can lead to cavities and infection.
By brushing at least twice a day with the correct toothpaste and toothbrush, flossing regularly and being sensible about your food and drink consumption, you can combat this sugar and acid attack, and help defend your teeth against erosion.
However, when wearing braces, the simple processes of brushing and flossing become more difficult. Food and debris can become stuck behind the wires, brackets and bands of the brace system itself and be difficult to dislodge with normal brushing techniques. This means that your teeth can be under increased risk of plaque build-up, which if left to worsen can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Cleaning the teeth and gums effectively during braces treatment, is therefore more important than ever.
How can interdental brushes help keep teeth and braces clean?
It is said that regular brushing reaches only 60% of the tooth’s surface, meaning that you miss the areas in between teeth, leaving them susceptible to the build-up of plaque and gum inflammation.
An interdental brush is a small tufted brush designed specifically to get into the small spaces between the teeth. Its design also makes it perfect for getting to those hard to reach places underneath and around brace wires and brackets. This type of brush is particularly useful for cleaning the teeth and braces where the brace system is not removable and cannot be cleaned outside of the mouth.
Using an interdental brush once a day, in addition to regular tooth brushing, is an effective way to keep your teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment.
Interdental brushes come in different sizes and often you will need more than one brush to effectively clean in and around your teeth and braces. If you are not sure, please ask at your next appointment as our orthodontists will be able to advise you on the best type of interdental brush to use for your particular brace system.
Tips on how to use interdental brushes when wearing braces
To keep your teeth and gums healthy whilst wearing braces, try using an interdental brush once daily. Stand in front of a mirror to make sure you can see the areas that need cleaning and so that you don’t miss any spots.
- Choose the right size of interdental brush – ask your orthodontist if you are not sure
- Insert gently and move back and forth in each space
- Change to a different size brush if needed to get around and underneath wires
- Curve the brush if needed to get in between teeth and wires
- Change the brush once the bristles become worn
For more advice on looking after your teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment read our blog on oral health tips for people with braces.