If you have ever slacked off in the oral hygiene department relative to keeping your teeth clean with braces, how can you get back on track? How can you get your teeth so sparkling clean that your hygienist will give you a standing ovation at your next visit? Winning Smiles Orthodontics will give you 5 suggestions – and tools to help you to achieve this goal:
1. Floss Threaders
These little lassos help you thread floss under the wire so you can get down to the gum line and all the way between the teeth. They take a little getting used to, but we find them to be invaluable.
2. Waxed Floss
Thin waxed floss glides between and around the teeth and braces so much more easily than unwaxed, which tends to get caught and even shred up during flossing. You can also buy floss with a hard end for “threading” into your teeth in case you’d like to skip the threader, but we have found it to be easier working with the threader.
3. Dental Picks
These are essential for helping dislodge food that has become stuck in your brackets or wrapped around wires. A dental pick is a good first step when you’re about to start your nightly brushing routine, but it’s also a great thing to have on hand when you go out to eat, in case you have to run to the bathroom for a little food removal.
4. A Proxi-Brush
Sometimes referred to as “go-betweens,” these look like little pipe cleaners and are used just like you’d expect—they “go between” braces and teeth to clean food and plaque. They don’t replace floss, but they are great for using on-the-go to get food from between your teeth and also do a great job cleaning the brackets themselves. Make sure you get a few different sizes—the really small ones work best for cleaning the gaps that form between teeth, while the larger ones seem easier to maneuver around back teeth.
5. Patience and Time
Okay, so it isn’t really a tool, but patience might be the most important part of your brushing routine when you have braces. It takes a while to learn how to maneuver around braces with floss and other tools. We have always advised our patients to spend minimally 3 minutes, 4 times per day JUST brushing their teeth. (Morning, After Lunch, After Dinner, and Prior to Bed-time). Over time you will become more skilled and the process will become more efficient, but it’s still a good idea to set aside the proper amount of time to make sure you do a really great job on your teeth.
Taking these tips into account, your hygienist and your dentist will love you! Good luck!!!