Whether you're on your journey to a beautiful smile through braces or Invisalign®, caring for your smile doesn't end when you leave the office. It's important to practice basic dental and oral hygiene techniques to ensure that your picture perfect teeth stay healthy for a lifetime! Following the essential basics outlined below are critical to maintaining proper oral health:
Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size of your brush should fit your mouth; allowing it to reach all angles, comfortably and easily. Brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums, moving the brush back and forth in short strokes. Brush along all inner, outer, and chewing surfaces of your teeth. To finish off, be sure to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and to keep your breath fresh!
Wind 18-inches of floss around the middle fingers of each hand and use your thumb and index fingers to pinch and guide the floss. Keep one-to-two inches of floss held taut as you move the floss between your teeth. Guide the floss gently between your teeth in a zigzag motion, the floss should be contoured around the surface of the tooth so as to remove any plaque build-up.
After brushing, do not immediately rinse your mouth out with water. ADA approved toothpastes contain a chemical called "fluoride" that aids in promoting dental health and assists in the process of remineralizing enamel. When you are done brushing, spit out any excess toothpaste, but allow the remaining toothpaste to sit in your mouth and do its job. If a minty sensation persists, you can rinse with water after a period of ten minutes has elapsed.
An interdental toothbrush, is a compliment to your everyday brushing habits. It will help to get in-between the teeth, especially in areas that a normal brush cannot reach. Using an interdental brush is an easy and efficient way to promotion healthy gums and fresh breath.
Whether currently undergoing orthodontic treatment or just taking care of your pearly-whites, there are many foods that can both strengthen and damage your teeth. Check out our section on Foods to Avoid, right here on Braceland.com!
During the retention phase, it is important to brush your retainer every time you brush your teeth as they can accumulate food particles and plaque. Once a day, you should soak your appliance in a glass of room-temperature tap water with a denture-cleaning tablet, such as Polident or Efferdent. This will help prevent plaque build-up and oral infections and will keep your appliance tasting better. Do not use hot water as it can distort the appliance.
Antibacterial mouthwash agents, such as Colgate Peroxyl®, can assist in reducing inflammation and irritation. When using a mouthwash, rinse with approximately two-teaspoons of fluide for up to one minute. This can be done up to four times a day and is recommended especially when waking up, going to sleep, and finishing meals.
A topical fluoride agent, such as Colgate Phos-Flur®, can be an excellent companion to your everyday hygiene schedule. Fluoride can, of course, kill bacteria and remineralize damaged enamel. Apply topical fluoride right before going to sleep using a tooth brush and let the agent sit on your teeth for at least one minute before rinsing. Do not eat or drink anything within a thirty-minute period after applying fluoride to your teeth.
Brush your removable appliance every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. Because food particles and plaque can accumulate on your appliance just as they do on your teeth, soak the appliance daily. Dissolve a Polident®, Efferdent® or other denture-cleaning tablet in a glass of tap water at room temperature and soak your appliance once every day. Your appliance will taste better, and you will prevent plaque and bacterial accumulation.
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