Before you can have your teeth straightened with braces, it is important that you have a happy, healthy mouth. Brushing is even harder with braces on, so the first step is making sure you have the technique just right before the braces are fitted.

A nice smile has now gained quite an importance in our daily lives. They say “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight”, well apart from having straight teeth, to achieve a nice smile it is most importantly fundamental to have healthy teeth. A good oral hygiene is only achieved by how efficient you brush your teeth correctly. At Oakwood Orthodontics we think it is important to talk about ways on how you can take care of your teeth because you know “Once they are gone, they are gone…”

Top 5 tips on tooth brushing:

1. MANUAL TOOTHBRUSH: medium bristled toothbrush, but use a soft bristled brush for receding and sensitive gums
2. MANUAL vs ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH- Manual is fine if you have the correct technique. Electric brushes have some advantages like a built in timer and controlled forces.
3. TIME: brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes: Play your favourite song, use an egg timer or count to 10 for each surface in each quadrant (4 quadrants x 3 surfaces per quadrant=count to ten 12 times)
4. TOOTHPASTE: use fluoride based toothpaste to strengthen your enamel

Let us start with the basics, the toothbrush. We are lucky that in this day and age we have access to so many kinds of toothbrushes: manual or electric, soft or hard, small or big headed, quite frankly there is too much to choose from! For manual, a good start would be to choose a toothbrush with a head that would enable you to reach hard to access places such as your back teeth. It is generally agreed by dental professionals that a medium bristled tooth brush is recommended but if you find that your gum are receding due to too much force when brushing then a soft bristled brush would be more suitable as it is kinder to your gums depending on how much pressure you put on it when you brush your teeth. For electric toothbrush it is advisable to choose one with a brush that performs with a rotation-oscillation action.

Another Question we are asked is whether to use manual or electric toothbrush. The use of electric toothbrush is highly advisable even more when you are brushing your teeth too hard resulting in causing your gums to recede but there is nothing wrong with using a manual toothbrush the important thing is to know the techniques of how to brush your teeth correctly.

Brushing your teeth correctly normally requires two minutes of your time; you can set a timer up or put your favourite song to play which is normally 4 minutes long so you know that half way through it you can finish your brushing. Divide your mouth into 4 main sections (quadrant): Upper left, Upper right, Lower left and Lower right. Spend 30 seconds on each quadrant dedicating 10 seconds per surface: inner, outer and chewing surface. To brush your teeth properly tilt your toothbrush at a 45⁰ angle against the gumline then brush away from the gumline. Use short but gentle strokes back and forth on the surfaces of your teeth paying attention on the chewing surfaces and nooks and crannies. Use fluoride based toothpaste for when you brush your teeth to strengthen your enamel making it more resistant to bacteria that could cause dental caries.

In addition to using a toothbrush, since you are wearing braces or retainers you have to bare in mind that there will be additional nooks and crannies where food and plaque could strategically hide and build up. It is in this cases that the use of interdental brushes will be of great help. Interdental brushes are small brushes that can get through those particularly hard to reach gaps between your teeth and the wire where food and plaque tends to park. Including this in your daily oral hygiene routine will ensure you maintain healthy teeth throughout your course of treatment. Because the last thing you want is to have straight smile with decayed teeth.

Visit your dentist and ask for advice on which toothbrush is best suitable for your needs as long as you make sure you brush your teeth properly at least twice a day for 2 minutes each and using a fluoride based toothpaste you can achieve a great oral hygiene.