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. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, including between teeth, on the surface of each tooth and around each bracket and wires. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
Brushing the brackets and wires can cause your toothbrush to wear more quickly than before braces. If you notice the bristles starting to bend or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste as you brush, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.
Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day. A floss threader which has a stiff end will help you push the floss under your archwire. Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean 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.
What to Eat
For the most part, you'll be able to eat many of the same foods you've eaten before. The general rule is to avoid things that are hard, sticky, gummy or chewy, to prevent breaking the bond that holds the brackets on the teeth. CLICK HERE for a more detailed list and general instructions that you can print.