Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Move the toothbrush systematically around the dental arches in the same pattern each time so no areas are missed. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth, as well as, the outside, inside and chewing surface of all of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
Try to brush your teeth four times a day to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully brush and floss daily for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.
Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you have finished. Be sure to floss behind all of your back teeth, as well.
When braces are placed, you will be taught how to use a flossing aide called a floss-threader. Floss-threaders will make flossing with braces easier since the archwire may be in the way.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are “plaque free” before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.