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LAST UPDATED: DECEMBER 26, 2017
Although an orthodontist is primarily responsible for installing your orthodontic mouth appliances, the eventual success or failure of the corrective treatment depends largely on your own behavior. If you do not take care of your mouth by routinely brushing and flossing, braces and invisalign technology will likely be ineffective and a colossal waste of money and time. Wearers of these appliances know that they are uncomfortable, if not outright painful, and most patients simply want to finish the treatment as soon as possible.
Different orthodontists recommend different oral care strategies and techniques, but we’ve taken the liberty of distilling those suggestions into a concrete set of recommendations concerning when and how orthodontic patients should brush their teeth.
When Should I Brush?
Most orthodontists agree that patients should brush their teeth at least after every meal, in order to prevent the buildup of food leftovers in the mouth. These food scraps can lead to bad breath, teeth yellowing and even plaque or more serious oral afflictions. As long as you are brushing gently in a circular pattern, there really is no limit for how often you should brush your teeth — some people really enjoy the feeling of clean teeth and may brush between 5 and 7 times a day, whereas others may restrict brushing to after meals and before bed.
Whatever your brushing situation, make sure to brush your teeth before going to bed: spending eight or more inactive hours with a dirty mouth is certainly unhealthy in every respect.
How Should I Brush With Braces?
Before brushing, make sure to rinse the mouth thoroughly with water. This rids the mouth of excess food particles and clears up some of the space between the teeth and the orthodontic appliances. After rinsing, brush with fluoride toothpaste at both an upward and downward angle for each tooth. Brushing up and down on each separate bracket will keep each tooth’s available area free of plaque and should restrict the spread of yellowing or browning.
After brushing, make sure to floss properly to rid the spaces between brackets and teeth of any leftover food. Patients may find it helpful to use a floss threader in order to force the floss more easily between the wires. Floss threaders can be bought cheaply at any major pharmacy, and your orthodontist’s office will be able to supply them as well. Post-flossing, the teeth should be brushed again for 30 seconds, and then the mouth should be rinsed with either water or a mouthwash solution.
When Should I Brush My Teeth With Invisalign?
These appliances are slightly different than other forms of corrective mouthwear, but the cleaning process is still simple and easy to teach to even the unruliest of children. Because these clear brace products are fully removable plastic aligners, the cleaning process is more comprehensive and effective. The plastic aligners are simply replaced every two weeks or so until your teeth are straight as an arrow — most people won’t even suspect that you’re seeing an orthodontist!
Now on to another easy question — when to brush? You should really be brushing after every meal or snack, but sometimes the brushing can be forgone if the snack was something compact like an apple or a banana. Snacks that are more likely to get stuck in your teeth, such as granola bars, necessitate a dutiful brush after their consumption. With clear brace technology, food is less liable to get stuck in your teeth or gums, so brushing 5 to 7 times a day could even be considered overkill.
How do I Brush My Teeth With Invisalign?
The brushing instructions are largely the same as those above, with a few notable exceptions. In addition to brushing and caring for your teeth, you must also care for your removable plastic aligners. This means brushing them gently with your toothbrush every time you remove them from your mouth — this action will help reduce the potential for plaque buildup or nasty scents. The aligners should also be brushed and rinsed every morning after waking up and every night before bed. It is important to give equal attention to both the insides and outsides of your aligners during cleaning sessions. Invisible alignment structures that suffer from a lack of cleaning become, well — not so invisible.
Schedule an Appointment with Tisseront Orthodontics
At Tisseront Orthodontics in Reston, Va., you can receive a free consultation with Dr. Stephan Tisseront to learn more about your orthodontic options. Our orthodontist takes care of children, teenagers and adults at our top-of-the-line office, and he offers these treatments:
• Lingual braces – worn on the backs of teeth
• Invisalign – aligners for teenagers or adults
• Ceramic orthodontia – made with clear wires and color-matching brackets
It is also possible to reduce your orthodontic treatment time by using a small device from AcceleDent Aura that helps to accelerate the movement of your teeth into the correct positions.
Call us today at 703-773-1200 to schedule an examination with Dr. Tisseront in our state-of-the-art orthodontic facility.
11720 Plaza America Drive, Ste. 110 Reston VA 20190-4762