Oral Hygiene

Children's Orthodontic Treatment in Lincoln Park, IL

Oral hygiene is one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy smile, and that goes double while wearing braces. As a leading children's orthodontist in Winnetka & Lincoln Park, IL, Yummy Dental & Orthodontics For Kids is dedicated to helping with every part of the orthodontic treatment process. If your child is starting orthodontic treatment soon and you're wondering how they should brush their teeth with braces, we're here to help!

How to Brush Teeth with Braces

Brushing with braces.

To effectively brush teeth with braces, you'll need to start with a soft-bristle or bi-level toothbrush and a fluoridated toothpaste. You can also use an electric brush, but make sure to keep it at a moderate or low setting and not to let the back fo the brush hit the braces. When it comes to brushing, technique is everything – so here's how to effectively brush with braces:

  • Start with the bristles flat against the teeth.
  • Use circular motions to gently polish the teeth and brackets clean.
  • Next, tilt the brush upwards to brush the area underneath the brackets, using a back-and-forth motion.
  • Do the same thing with the brush tilted downward to get the area above the brackets.
  • Move on to brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth, using a firm back-and-forth motion to clean them.
  • Finally, thoroughly brush the inside surfaces of the teeth.

Normally, you should brush at least two times per day – once after breakfast and once before bed. However, during orthodontic treatment, you'll need to brush anytime after you eat something, for a minimum of 4 times per day. Brushing this frequently is important because your teeth are extra susceptible to dental decay during orthodontic treatment, as it's easy for food to get trapped in the braces.

Flossing with Braces

Floss threader.

The other cornerstone to strong oral hygiene is flossing. You'll need to floss at least once every day to keep the teeth and gums healthy, and if you're flossing with braces, there's a bit of a special technique involved. In order to get the floss underneath the archwire, you'll need to use a special tool called a floss threader. A floss threader is essentially a loop of thin plastic with one long, pointed end.

To use a floss threader, pull out a length of floss and pull it through the loop, then use the pointed end of the loop to thread it underneath the archwire. This will allow you to pull the threader through and weave the floss itself under the archwire. Once the floss is underneath the archwire, you can floss the teeth normally. Now, simply repeat this motion for every space between the teeth.

Special Tools for Oral Hygiene

Interdental toothbrush.

In addition to brushing and flossing, it may help to pick up a few specialized tools for practicing oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment. Here are a few tools that many patients find helpful during orthodontic treatment:

  • Interdental Toothbrush: Also called a proxabrush, this is a small, conical brush with a tuft of bristles that looks kind of like a pipe cleaner. It's very portable, making for a helpful tool to dislodge bits of food when you're on the go.
  • Oral Irrigator: An oral irrigator is an automated device that shoots out a small, pressurized jet of water, helping to dislodge food and plaque that gets trapped in the nooks and crannies of teeth and braces. Also called a "water pick," oral irrigators aren't a substitute for brushing and flossing, but they can be a helpful supplement to orthodontic treatment.
  • Disclosing Tablets: Disclosing tablets, or "disclosing solutions," are essentially special formulations of vegetable dyes designed to highlight bits of food, debris, and plaque in the mouth. Dissolving one in your mouth will color any food or plaque that you missed after brushing and flossing, making it easy to see which areas of your mouth need extra attention.

Schedule a Consultation with Your Chicago Pediatric Orthodontist!

Oral hygiene is a critical part of maintaining a healthy smile, and it becomes even more important during orthodontic treatment. If you have more questions about oral hygiene or think your child might benefit from orthodontic treatment, we would love to hear from you. Contact us today to learn more about orthodontic treatment or to request a consultation. We can't wait to hear from you!

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