Brushing and Flossing
It is extremely important to brush and floss properly when you’re wearing braces. You should use a soft bristle brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times per day (preferably after meals), for at least two minutes each time. Remember to brush all of the tooth surfaces: the outside, the inside, and the chewing surfaces as well. Be especially careful to clean the areas between the wires and the teeth, and between the brackets and the gums since that is where food particles can easily become trapped.
Helpful Brushing Tools
If you’re having trouble cleaning the areas near brackets and wires, there are some special tools that may help. One is the interdental toothbrush, or proxabrush. It has a small tuft of bristles that resembles a pipe cleaner. Use it gently and carefully to clean the tiny spaces under wires and around bands and brackets.
Another special cleaning tool is the oral irrigator or “water pick.” This device shoots a small stream of pressurized water at your teeth, which can help dislodge bits of food that become trapped in nooks and crannies. While it’s easy to use, an oral irrigator isn’t a substitute for a toothbrush or dental floss. When used along with proper brushing and flossing however, it can be very effective.
To keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, you need to floss at least once per day. It can be difficult to get floss under the archwire of your braces, but it’s made easier with the help of a floss threader. Using this device is somewhat like threading a needle: You pull one end of floss through the threader, and then push the threader(carrying with it the free end of the floss) under the archwire. Now grasp the floss on each end and slide it up and down the sides of both teeth. Finally, pull it out and use a new section of floss for the next area.