THE PROPER WAY TO BRUSH
The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day; ideally in the morning and before bed. The perfect toothbrush is small in size with soft, rounded-end bristles and no more than three months old. The head of the brush needs to be small enough to access all areas of the mouth, and the bristles should be soft enough so as not to cause undue damage to the gum tissue. The American Dental Association (ADA) has given electric toothbrushes their seal of approval; stating that those with rotating or oscillating heads are more effective than other toothbrushes.
Here is a basic guide to proper brushing:
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where the gums and teeth meet.
- Use small circular motions to gently brush the gumline and teeth.
- Do not scrub or apply too much pressure to the teeth, as this can damage the gums and tooth enamel.
- Brush every surface of every tooth, cheek-side, tongue-side, and chewing surfaces. Place special emphasis on the surfaces of the back teeth.
- Use back and forth strokes to brush the chewing surfaces.
- Brush the tongue to remove fungi, food and debris.
THE PROPER WAY TO FLOSS
Flossing is a great way to remove plaque from the interdental regions (between the teeth). Flossing is an especially important tool for preventing periodontal disease and limiting the depth of the gum pockets. The interdental regions are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and should be cleansed with dental floss on a daily basis. The flavor and type of floss are unimportant; choose floss that will be easy and pleasant to use.
Here is a basic guide to proper flossing:
- Cut a piece of floss to around 18 inches long.
- Wrap one end of the floss around the middle finger of the left hand and the other end around the middle finger of the right hand until the hands are 2-3 inches apart.
- Work the floss gently between the teeth toward the gum line.
- Curve the floss in a U-shape around each individual tooth and carefully slide it beneath the gum line.
- Carefully move the floss up and down several times to remove interdental plaque and debris.
- Do not pop the floss in and out between the teeth as this will inflame and cut the gums.
HOW TO BRUSH & FLOSS WITH BRACES
While wearing braces, plaque and food particles have additional places to accumulate and become trapped. If you or someone in your family wears braces, don’t let that get in the way of brushing and flossing. Before you know it, you’ll be flashing a confident smile if you keep these few things in mind.
Here is a guide to brushing and flossing with braces:
- Get started. Remove elastics, bands, or removable parts of orthodontic appliances.
- Clean your braces. Carefully clean around wires and pins.
- Brush each wire. Move top to bottom, and all the way around upper and lower teeth.
- Brush your teeth. Dental professionals recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice daily. That means each quadrant of your mouth gets 30 seconds. Oral-B Electric Toothbrushes have a built-in timer that pulses every 30 seconds to let you know when to switch areas of the mouth. As you’re brushing, make sure to clean all areas of the tooth. Some people find they get the best clean going tooth by tooth.
- Floss once a day. Use waxed floss and thread it carefully under the main wire before passing between two teeth. Don’t snap it—simply move up and down gently, remove, and move on to the next pair of teeth. Use Oral-B Superfloss®, which is self-threading or regular floss with a floss threader to place above and below the orthodontic wire.
- Rinse, and then check your teeth. Rinse thoroughly. Examine teeth and braces in the mirror, and remember to look for any remaining food particles.
Seeing your orthodontist for checkups and adjustments is essential. He or she can repair broken pieces, answer general questions, and address any irregularities such as cavities or gingivitis. Your dental professional may recommend a fluoride treatment as a precaution.