Dr. Martinez always recommends daily brushing and flossing during your orthodontic treatment. Just like with regular oral health standards, it’s important to keep up with a good dental routine in order to remove plaque and concentrated bacteria from the mouth to help prevent cavities and bad breath. It’s particularly important when undergoing an orthodontic treatment because plaque is twice as likely to build up when you have braces on and can’t effectively brush the entire tooth as well as you normally would.
Plaque forms on the smooth surfaces and in-between teeth after we eat food, especially foods rich in carbohydrates. Three things are needed to cause cavities: a tooth’s surface, bacteria, and a food source. If you remove the food source, you remove the chance for bacteria to create a cavity! Brushing helps to remove plaque from the smooth surfaces of your teeth, while flossing removes plaque and concentrated bacteria that are left in-between the teeth.
Brushing should be done with minimal pressure, in circular motions, and with a soft bristle toothbrush and fluoride containing toothpaste. Dr. Martinez recommends a full two minutes of thorough brushing, which also includes massaging the gum line with the toothbrush bristles. Flossing should be done with a single piece of dental floss that’s used in between teeth and guided into the gingival sulcus. This ensures that each gum pocket is thoroughly cleaned!
Both traditional and electric toothbrushes can be used to clean teeth thoroughly. A traditional toothbrush is more technique sensitive, and requires better hand-eye coordination. An electric toothbrush is used by individuals with limited dexterity, or difficulty guiding a traditional toothbrush around the mouth. If you aren’t sure which type of toothbrush to use, feel free to ask Dr. Martinez during your next appointment. Remember, brushing and flossing is vital when maintaining good oral health while you have your braces on!