As you eat, your teeth, braces and appliances collect food. If food is left on teeth overnight, a thick plaque forms around the teeth and gums. Plaque causes bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. Bleeding and swollen gums are a sure sign that plaque is not being properly removed. If your gums are swollen and inflamed, you will experience more discomfort during your treatment.
The best way to prevent plaque and tartar build up is to practice good daily oral home care, which includes brushing and flossing.
- Brush for at least 2 minutes, twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste. Pay special attention to your back teeth, which may have more plaque on them.
- Brush with gentle strokes so you don’t wear away your gums or teeth.
- The high speed vibration of electric toothbrush can help break down the plaque and remove it.
- Brush the teeth for two minutes. Remember, brush the outside, inside and tops of your teeth. Dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day.
- For fresher breath, brush or scrape the tongue daily.
- Examine your teeth for food and plaque and thoroughly clean all surfaces of the gums, teeth and braces. Re-examine your teeth to make sure all visible food and plaque have been removed. Extra care must be taken in the area between your gums and the braces.
- Concentrate on brushing your gums and the gum line as well as your teeth. Two minute brushing, two times per day, is recommended.
Some people think flossing is not as important as brushing – but it is! Daily flossing removes plaque and food particles from between teeth and under the gum line, cavity-prone areas your brush can’t reach. If this plaque is allowed to build up under the gum line, gums can become irritated and eventually lead to gum disease. Dentists recommend flossing once a day, in the evening. Failing to floss leaves 35 to 40 per cent of your tooth’s surface uncleaned!
Using a mouthwash can also help fight plaque. If you’re not sure what kind to use, ask your general dentist.
Regular dental check-ups
Although you brush and floss every day, it is very important to continue to see your family dentist at least once every six months for a thorough examination and cleaning of your teeth. If you experience difficulty with good oral hygiene, you might need to see your general dentist more frequently.