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At Papandreas Orthodontics, we don’t have to tell you that keeping your teeth clean during treatment is very important. Braces have a habit of collecting additional food while eating that can cause a multitude of problems if not cared for correctly.
So you don’t offend others with unsightly food caught on your braces, or to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, decalcification or discoloring of teeth and cavities, here are are five tooth brushing tips from Dr. Samuel Papandreas and our team for orthodontic patients to keep in mind while wearing braces:
1. There is more to brush than what you see. Most patients spend their time brushing the parts of their teeth and the braces they can see. However, it’s just as important to clean the inside areas of your teeth as well as the chewing surface of each tooth. Brush all surfaces inside, outside, along the top of the teeth and the gum line for best results. Watch this video on how to brush your teeth correctly with braces.
2. Make sure you spend enough time doing a good job. Did you know the ADA recommends you brush your teeth for approximately three minutes to do a good job… even if you aren’t wearing braces? At one point you may have received a three minute egg timer to time brushing from your dentist. It seems like the time will never end when watching the grains of salt flow to the bottom. Most popular songs today are approximately three minutes long. Listen to an ipod or radio while you are brushing instead of using a timer. If you start brushing at the beginning of a song… and stop when over… you can dance around for three minutes while brushing, without the time dragging.
3. Use dental floss often. Food is often trapped between teeth and flossing with braces is easier with a floss threader, especially when trying to thread the floss under your main wire. Watch this video on how to floss correctly. Dental floss threaders save time and are very easy to use once you get the hang of it. They are available in the toothbrush aisle in any grocery or drug store.
4. Be prepared. In order to brush after every meal you must be prepared. Always keep a toothbrush in your purse, backpack, or laptop case. The TOOB brush was designed with orthodontic patients in mind. It’s easy to use, you can refill it with your own toothpaste, and it travels anywhere.
5. Regular dental cleanings and checkups are still important. It’s your job to take care of the everyday cleaning. However, we recommend you visit your dentist regularly while wearing braces to eliminate any plaque you may have missed while brushing or using dental floss.
Dr. Papandreas is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, Cleveland Dental Society, Ohio Dental Association and the Schulman Study Group of top orthodontic practices nationally.