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Maintaining good oral hygiene with braces

Conventional orthodontic treatments involve the placement of metallic, or ceramic brackets on the anterior surfaces of the teeth. A wire is then passed through these brackets and fixed into bands cemented onto the molars. With all these appliances in place to correct dental alignment, maintaining good oral hygiene becomes rather challenging.

Brushing and flossing the exact same way as you did without the braces can easily result in de-bonding of the brackets, or dislodgment of the wire from its slots in the molar bands.
However, there are a number of ways in which you can clean your teeth without harming any of the orthodontic appliances.
Here are a few tips you can follow at home to prevent accumulation of plaque, food debris and bacteria during orthodontic treatments:

  • Purchase an orthodontic tooth brush. This brush does not look like a regular toothbrush. It has bristles arranged in the shape of a small Christmas tree, and can easily slide underneath the wire to clean inter-dental spaces. This brush is meant to be used along with your regular tooth brush to achieve better cleaning.
  • Use your regular tooth brush to gently clean around the brackets.
  • Use a mouthwash regularly if you feel that the orthodontic appliances are giving you bad breath.
  • Do not miss dental appointments. If you feel that you are unable to clean your teeth at home, your dentist will demonstrate easy ways in which you can. Ultrasonic scaling may also be performed on your teeth prior to, and after the orthodontic treatment to make sure there is no calculus build up and the gums remain healthy.