Looking After Your Appliances

Maintain Your Straight Teeth

Braces help your teeth become a lot more attractive, but remember a good oral hygiene program is essential.

To Clean Your Teeth, Follow These Simple Guidelines:

1. Remove your elastics (if necessary).

2. Use the correct angle: Place brush at a 45-degree angle, aiming the bristles into the junction between your teeth and gums. It is important to clean your gum margin whilst brushing your teeth. This removes any food particles trapped underneath and will prevent gum inflammation.

3. Using the correct brushing action: Twist or jiggle the brush held gently while the tips of the bristles remain more or less in the same place. Spend about 10 seconds on each tooth before moving to the next one.

4. Clean your braces first: Using the correct angle and brushing action, clean in and around all the wires on your braces. To make sure the brush removes all plaque and food particles, you will have to brush both sides of the wires.

5. Now the remaining outer surfaces: Clean from the top of the wires then clean from the bottom. Take your time, and ensure that you have worked all the way around to the braces on your back teeth on both sides. When you have finished cleaning your top braces, repeat this on your bottom braces.

6. Brush the inner surfaces: Use the same brushing action to thoroughly clean behind each tooth. Tilt your brush to reach in behind your top front teeth. Repeat for your inside bottom teeth.

7. Brushing the chewing surfaces: Use a back and forth stroke with moderate force to clean both your upper and lower teeth.

8. Rinse and check: Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water and take a good look at your mouth in the mirror. Your teeth should be really clean and shiny. Your braces should sparkle!

9. Finally, replace your elastics.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen if I don’t brush properly?
Permanent damage to tooth enamel can occur if the teeth and brackets are not kept clean. Areas on the enamel surface will begin to decalcify, leaving unsightly white marks.

You may also develop gingivitis (gum disease), which is inflamed, bleeding gums.

Is flossing possible with braces?
Yes. Flossing removes food and plaque from the spaces between your teeth. A specially designed floss is ideal for braces as you can guide the stiff plastic threader between the teeth and under braces. Also available are ‘floss threaders’ which act like a needle & make it easier for the patient to thread the floss between each brace.

Are there any other products that can help me keep my mouth clean?
There are other dental aids that you might find useful. A fluoride mouth rinse may also be recommended during your orthodontic treatment.

What is the best way to avoid damaging my braces?
1. Avoid hard foods. Foods such as nuts, popcorn and ice should be avoided as they can loosen, break and bend wires and bands. Foods such as apples and carrots should be chopped up into small pieces before eating to help reduce stress on your braces.
2. Avoid sticky foods. No bubble gum, caramels, toffees, muesli or fruit bars.
3. Avoid all soft drinks, cordials, etc.
4. Avoid sweets such as chocolate, lollies and sweet biscuits.
5. Habits such as nail biting, unnatural tongue thrusting, pencil chewing and nervous picking at your wires can also break braces. Be aware of these habits and make an effort to stop them.
6. Remember that damaged braces mean extra appointments, inconvenience and extended treatment time. If you do break your braces, be sure to make an appointment with your orthodontist immediately. Broken braces will not correct teeth.

‘Do I still need to see my regular dental professional whilst wearing plates or braces?’
Yes. It is important to visit your general dental professional for regular check-ups and routine cleans while you are wearing your plates or braces. By practising good oral hygiene, watching your diet and following the advice of your dental professionals, you can be assured that your orthodontic treatment will be as successful as possible. And once your treatment is finished, you can look forward to showing off your new smile!

Helpful Hints
Get your treatment completed sooner.

1. DO keep your mouth clean. This will allow your teeth to move into the correct position quicker and shorten the wearing time for your braces.
2. DO chop up solid food. Cut up foods such as raw fruits and vegetables and hard bread crusts into bite-sized pieces to reduce pressure on braces during eating.
3. DON’T chew on anything but food. Chewing on objects such as pencils and paper clips can damage braces and result in added time at the orthodontist.
4. DON’T push your teeth out of line. Activities such as biting your nails and playing with your elastics can prolong the amount of time you have to wear braces.
5. DON’T eat hard, sticky or sugary foods, or drink fizzy beverages. Avoid foods such as popcorn, nuts, chips, bubblegum, toffee, caramels and sweet biscuits. And don’t chew on ice cubes or drink soft drinks. All of these things can damage braces and/or cause tooth decay.
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