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It’s important to practice good oral hygiene when undergoing orthodontic treatment because food particles often become stuck in the brackets and wires. Also, plaque buildup around brackets can result in decalcification (which are white spots) on your teeth and any hardware can make keeping gum disease away harder to accomplish. You don’t want to end up with inflamed gum tissue or cavities.

When brushing your teeth, you want to remove any removable parts (like bands or elastics) from your braces. Then you will want to clean carefully around the braces, using a soft-bristled toothbrush. To brush the wires, move top to bottom and around the teeth. Brush for at least two minutes twice a day. Clean the tops, bottoms, inside and back side of every tooth. Check to make sure there are no trapped food particles remaining. Rinse well. If you prefer, you can use an electric toothbrush to clean your pearly whites.

Find a flossing method of choice and use it at least once a day. You can use waxed floss that won’t shred in your braces, a dental tape, self-threaded flossers, or interdental flosser designed for cleaning around braces. Floss gently under the main wire and then pass between two teeth. Slide it up and down gently, take it out, and then move on to the next two teeth with a clean section of floss.

If you find that flossing is too arduous, you can try cleaning between teeth with the help of an oral irrigator. Some of them are up to 3X as effective as regular flossing. Water flossers often come with an orthodontic tip to clean around braces or oral appliances. This is a tapered brush which removes hard-to-reach plaque around those brackets, wires or other orthodontic hardware.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call Friendly Smiles Orthodontics in Tucson, Arizona at 520-326-1101. Our orthodontist, Dr. Yone Ponce and our team are here for you!