There’s no surprise to us as parents when our children are reluctant to learn proper dental care. After all, we’ve all been children, at some point – memories of us trying to procrastinate tooth brushing are sure to come to mind. However, it is our duty as parents to teach our children how to be responsible about dental care and inoculate the benefits of daily tooth brushing into their minds.
By itself, dental care is a paramount hygienic aspect of our children’s day-to-day lives, but it grows even more in importance as braces pop into the discussion. There’s no doubt that the braces will make tooth brushing more of a hassle in the beginning, but if around four million Americans became accustomed to dental care with braces, so can your children!
Here at Loudoun Orthodontics, we believe that tooth brushing can be quick, easy, and entertaining for our children. All it takes is to learn how to brush around the braces properly, and voilà, our young ones will have one reason more to show us their splendid smiles. In this blog, we will tackle proper dental care and learn from our top dental specialist, Dr. Richard J. Lee, DMD, MS, MPH, CAGS, a couple of tips on making tooth brushing easier!
Why is It Important to Brush Your Teeth?
For most of us, the importance of dental care has become an incontestable fact – brushing our teeth two or three times a day is a must, no matter what. But why are we reminded so often about tooth brushing, and what kind of role does dental health play in our lives?
First, we need to explain what happens in the oral cavity after each meal. When we eat, bits of food (either big or small) remain stuck on the tooth surface. That’s when bacteria, which are attracted to the sugar found in food, come on the stage and break it down into acids that attack the tooth enamel, its outer and most robust line of defense. Over time, if left untreated, bacteria will create a layer that sticks to your teeth, called plaque.
That is where proper oral hygiene comes to the rescue. By following a strict tooth-brushing schedule, patients can prevent the build-up of any plaque formation in the first place and the health issues that come with it, such as:
- Tooth decay, which, in turn, leads to dental cavities (the formation of holes in the teeth)
- Gingivitis or gum disease (manifesting itself as red, swollen, and sore gums)
How to Properly Brush around Your Braces
Now, we know why proper tooth brushing is essential. But what happens when braces arrive on the scene? Will they make dental care more of a hassle for my children?
The answer is no – brushing your teeth with or without braces is not that different; after all, the same principles are applied. However, what our children must learn when they’re wearing braces is to exercise a drop of extra patience and treat both their teeth and their braces gently. Furthermore, braces do not require any special equipment at all for tooth brushing; a simple toothbrush with rounded bristles and fluoride toothpaste will do the trick.
Let’s examine the proper way of brushing your teeth with braces:
- First, separate any removable parts of the orthodontic appliance.
- Carefully clean your braces around wires and brackets.
- Gently brush the wires themselves.
- Brush your teeth for approx. two minutes, twice per day.
- Rinse thoroughly, and check for any remaining food particles.
5 Tips from Dr. Lee to Make Your Life Easier
The world of dental is not without its secrets, and our top dental specialist, Dr. Lee, is more than happy to share some of his tips on making tooth brushing easier for our children:
#1: Brush at a 45 Degree Angle for at Least 2 Minutes Twice a Day
The plaque shows a tendency to form into the gingival sulcus, the point where teeth and the gum meet. By positioning the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle (Bass technique), you will be able to remove the plaque efficiently.
#2: Brush Upward in a Circular Motion
While our natural tendency is to brush our teeth using a back-and-forth sawing motion, dental experts advise against such behavior since it causes the gums to recede and exposes the root of the tooth, adding to sensitivity. On the contrary, Dr. Lee recommends a circular motion, perfect for removing food particles between the teeth and between the teeth and the gums.
#3: The Electric Toothbrush is Great
Haven’t we all heard one of our friends talk about how great electric toothbrushes are? Here at Loudoun Orthodontics, we sympathize with their opinion – electric toothbrushes are great! These devices provide superior plaque removal, healthier gums, and less tooth decay. Furthermore, since they provide the brushing action for us, your children are sure to enjoy them.
#4: Waterpik is Best
Especially for those who wear braces, the Waterpik water flosser device provides a superior, streamlined experience. It helps clean more secluded areas of the mouth, tightly spaced teeth, and periodontal pockets linked with early gum disease. Furthermore, Waterpik is a very convenient and practical device, making it one of our patients’ favorite.
#5: Floss Regularly
Regular use of dental floss completes the standard dental care routine. Using dental floss two times per day, you will ensure superior plaque removal, preventing dental issues such as tartar and gingivitis. Ideally, flossing after each meal is recommended, especially if tooth brushing in the middle of the day is not an option.
What about Flossing with Braces?
Just like brushing your teeth, flossing with braces is something that may seem more difficult to handle in the beginning, yet becomes easier and more pleasant with time and practice. Make sure that you choose a proper type of floss for your braces, such as waxed floss, which is unlikely to become entangled in your braces. With approx. 18 inches of floss and by carefully threading it under the main wire before passing between two teeth, you can experience superior dental flossing.
As we’ve seen today, our children can easily achieve dental care with braces. All they need is proper dental care education backed by the right tools. Ready to learn more about brushing and flossing with braces? Make sure that you schedule a complimentary consultation with us, or check out our blog!