Proper brushing techniques are the key to maintaining a healthy smile with braces. Read this blog to learn how interdental brushing can improve your oral health.
Orthodontic treatment can make it difficult for a patient to clean their teeth. This can lead to plaque build-up around the teeth, brackets, and wires. To counteract this, the orthodontist will give specific instructions on how to brush properly to prevent cavities, gum disease, and dental stains. In addition to using a traditional toothbrush, he may also recommend interdental brushing—another highly effective method for maintaining a healthy smile.
An interdental brush (IDB) is a small, specially designed brush used to clean between the teeth or brackets where a traditional toothbrush can’t reach. Those without braces use an interdental brush to clean between the teeth, but orthodontic patients also use them to clean around and between the brackets and wires on their teeth.
Read this blog to learn how to use an interdental brush properly and how interdental brushing is beneficial for people with braces.
How To Use an Interdental Brush
Before purchasing an IDB, be sure to ask your orthodontist which size will work best for your smile. Interdental brushes come in various sizes—correlated by color— to benefit all types of smiles.
Orthodontic patients should use the interdental brush one time per day after brushing with a traditional toothbrush.
To properly utilize an interdental brush, follow these instructions:
- Move the appliance up and down on either side of the brackets
- Pass the brush along the orthodontic wire when moving from one tooth to another, continuing to move it up and down
- Rinse after each use
- Replace the brush when it begins to look worn
The Benefits of Interdental Brushing
Aside from helping patients maintain good oral health, an interdental brush provides several benefits, especially when compared to dental floss.
The advantages of interdental brushing include:
- Easy use
- Patient compliance
- Higher motivation
- Reduced inflammation
- Safe to use
Often, orthodontists instruct patients on using dental floss to clean between their teeth and brackets. It can be a complicated process that many patients won’t give a second thought about when they leave the orthodontist’s office.
IDBs offers all of the same advantages along with the simplicity of use. Patients with dexterity issues have a greater appreciation for this appliance because there are variations of the brush with a long, bent handle.
More Ways to Keep Your Mouth Healthy
Braces offer so many benefits and provide patients with beautiful smiles! However, braces also require proper care and responsibility. To ensure you have the best orthodontic experience, follow these guidelines:
- Avoid chewy, crunchy, sticky, and hard food
- Avoid foods that require biting into
- Do eat soft foods like dairy, bread, grains, seafood, cooked vegetables, and fruits
- Rinse with salt water when you’re mouth feels tender or sore
- Learn how to fix a loose wire
- Utilize wax to relieve irritation
- Wear a mouthguard
If you follow these tips and other specific instructions from your orthodontist, you’re sure to have a great orthodontic experience. Along with having a beautiful smile at the end of treatment, you’ll also have a healthy one!
The Importance Of Oral Hygiene
It doesn’t matter if you are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces or not. Oral hygiene is essential, more so than patients tend to believe. Dental hygiene is vital to an individual’s overall health and well-being.
Untreated oral diseases may increase the risk of adverse health conditions. Thus, maintaining good oral hygiene is important in improving your oral health and overall well-being. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Poor oral health is associated with other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Oral disease is also associated with risk behaviors such as using tobacco and consuming sugary foods and beverages”.
It’s important to think of your mouth as the door that leads to the internal parts of your body. Your mouth also serves as a starting point for detecting early symptoms of systemic diseases. Diabetes, for example, often starts to become noticeable with a mouth lesion or gum infection. Furthermore, patients who have periodontal disease have a greater risk of suffering from heart disease.
Lastly, poor oral hygiene can also be a determining factor in the cause of:
- Bacterial Pneumonia
- Infective Endocarditis
As you can see, keeping your teeth and mouth clean can help to have a beautiful smile and prevent many severe health conditions. However, don’t be alarmed; all you need to do is keep a good oral hygiene routine.
How To Keep A Good Oral Hygiene Routine
At Markham Orthodontics, we understand that keeping a good oral hygiene routine can be difficult and maybe even confusing, even more so while you have braces. So, let’s take a look at some things you can do and how to do them correctly.
Remember to Brush Your Teeth
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day, taking at least about two minutes to do a great job.
- Don’t forget to clean your tongue, which harbors bacteria, with a toothbrush or tongue scraper.
- Use the proper equipment. Always try to use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can also use an electric or battery-operated toothbrush if preferred—polish your technique. Gently brush with circular short back-and-forth motions. Brushing too hard or with hard bristles can hurt your gums.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months
Don’t Forget About Dental Flossing
It doesn’t matter if you brush or floss first. What matters is you use flossing to reach the bacteria in the tight spaces between your teeth and under the gum line. However, when you floss, keep in mind:
- Use about 18 inches of dental floss. Guide the floss between your teeth using a rubbing motion.
- Take it one tooth at a time. Slide the floss into the space between your gum and tooth. Use the floss to gently rub the side of the tooth in an up-and-down motion.
Don’t Skip Routine Appointments
Keeping routine appointments is very important. Make sure always to keep the scheduled appointments. During these appointments, your dentists will solve not only current problems but also prevent new ones.
- Usually, we would recommend you have a cleaning and checkup twice a year or every six months, to be exact.
Contact Our Sacramento Orthodontists Today
At Markham Orthodontics, Dr. David Markham and Dr. Steven Scott provide excellent, gentle care to patients of all ages. Our goal is to help patients achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that they can’t wait to show off.
Call our friendly dental team today.