Happy November! As you eat your leftover Halloween candy and pack away your costumes, remember to keep your smile clean. National Brush Your Teeth Day is November 1—a time to focus on oral hygiene and all things brushing! Brushing your teeth is important for everyone. In fact, even people from 3000 BCE used oral hygiene products for their teeth. But, brushing is especially crucial for those with braces or aligners.
How brushing promotes a healthy smile transformation
Brushing removes a layer of bacteria on the teeth called plaque. Bacteria in plaque often thrive on acidic and sugary particles (like the ones in your candy!) However, plaque can feed on any leftover food particles. And, it can harden into tartar if you do not remove it, which might lead to gum disease, inflammation, and decay. These issues can all impede your orthodontic journey and get in the way of your smile transformation.
In severe cases, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, while cavities may cause pain. Since food easily gets stuck between brackets, brushing and flossing are your first lines of defense against plaque and tartar.
When do you brush your teeth?
Your brushing habits will depend on your orthodontic appliances. People who are not undergoing orthodontic treatment should brush at least twice daily for two minutes each time. But, you need to brush more often if you wear braces. We recommend brushing for two to four minutes after every meal, so you can clean out any food that may be stuck in your braces.
If you wear aligners or clear retainers, you must brush after any food or drink other than water. You may think that the occasional sip of coffee or bite of candy is fine. However, you must remove aligners or retainers before eating and drinking. And, you must thoroughly clean your teeth before putting them back on. Putting aligners on top of un-brushed teeth can cause serious damage, like tooth decay! And, choosing to eat or drink while wearing your aligners can lead to appliance stains, warping, and damage.
How do you brush with braces?
Brushing with braces is easy! Place a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently brush teeth in a circular motion. Brush between each bracket, get the inside of your teeth, and brush any aligner attachments, too. Take your time, be thorough, and brush gently.
When you finish brushing, store your toothbrush in a dry area. Do not place it in a confined space, like a cabinet, and do not put a cap over the bristles. Moisture helps bacteria thrive! Replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) every three months or after any time you get sick.
While today is a fun reminder to brush after a day of candy eating, it’s important to brush well every day. In addition, remember to floss and visit your dentist twice a year. When you practice proper oral hygiene, you will have the healthiest smile journey possible with our Carolina Braces team! Ready to schedule an appointment? Call us today.