Let’s be honest, brushing teeth is no one’s favourite activity, especially when braces are involved. However, oral hygiene is very important to maintain because it can make your health much worse as you get older. We don’t want that to happen to anyone, so we want to share some tips when it comes to brushing your teeth and making sure your teeth actually get clean!
Top mistakes people make when brushing:
- Brush too quickly: Most people have between 24 to 28 teeth in erupted in their mouth. Each tooth has at least three surfaces exposed to be brushed (cheek side, biting side, tongue side), and each surface needs to be brushed at least 6 times. That is between 72 to 84 surfaces, and up to 500 strokes each time you brush your teeth! That is why the Canadian Dental Association recommends spending at least 2 minutes each time you brush your teeth!
- Not brushing around the gum: This area is the most commonly missed area and the result is devastating! The gum does not stick tightly unto the tooth surface; instead, there is a rim of pocket between your gum and your tooth. If you do not aim the brush properly to brush into the gum, you will have gingivitis (bleeding gums), which will turn into periodontitis (bone loss) if it’s left untreated for extended period of time. Eventually, you may have so much bone loss that the tooth just fall out on its own!
- Not brushing your teeth at 45 angle: Angle your toothbrush this way allows you to get the brush bristles in between tooth surfaces, braces, and underneath the gum. Your braces have a lot of tiny crevices to accumulate plaque, so remember to brush thoroughly to get your teeth as clean as possible
- Not brushing the inside portion of your teeth: Just because they can’t be seen by others, doesn’t mean plaque doesn’t live there
- Not changing your toothbrush regularly: Once your toothbrush starts looking like it’s been used too much (the bristles are no longer straight) or it’s been 3 months, it’s time to change your toothbrush. If your toothbrush gets worn out before then, you may be brushing too hard!
- Brushing too hard: You do not need to scrub your teeth like scrubbing a dirty frying pan to clean them. Brushing too hard will not only harm your gum (recessions), but will actually damage your tooth surface also!
There are also electronic toothbrushes available for those who feel like they can’t get a good enough clean with a conventional toothbrush. An electronic toothbrush provides consistent spins of the bristle at a high frequency, hence greatly increase the efficiency of the process of brushing. However, the brush can only cleans where you place it at, so the concept of angling the toothbrush still applies.
When you go for your regular braces appointments, take the opportunity to get a really good clean of your teeth when your wires come off. During this time, it will be the easiest to clean your teeth because you have less obstructions.
A strong daily oral hygiene habits crucial! We know that it can be hard at the beginning, but we can assure you that with some good tips and practice, everybody will be able to master the skills of brushing and flossing, and get your teeth squeaky clean :D