Dr. Nate here again! This week I wanted to focus on HOW to clean your teeth with braces. I know, boring. And you already know how to keep your teeth clean, right? Well judging by how many patients need a frequent tutorial on the proper technique, something is getting lost in translation…
All of our patients know that we spend a HUGE amount of time discussing how to brush and floss with braces. We do this immediately after putting them on! As most of our team have had braces, they are all experts at explaining the process. They understand the struggle is real. You must be dedicated to the process.
What is the biggest concern with bad oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment? Two words: WHITE SPOTS! Remember that braces seal off the part of the tooth that is covered, which protects it from plaque damage. The remainder of the tooth, however, is exposed. Leaving too much plaque and gunk on the teeth will cause the tooth to become soft and turn a chalky white color. That is the start of a cavity, and it is PERMANENT. Google ‘tooth decalcification' to see the devastation.
Obviously this isn’t pretty. It is however completely avoidable! And most often this becomes noticeable after the patient is finished with braces. This is the time everyone has waited for…the amazing smile! Instead, all anyone will notice are these white spots that the patient CANNOT brush off! To make them disappear requires hours of work by the dentist, at a tremendous expense to you. So why not read a little further to ensure you are doing everything correctly????
In dental school an inordinate amount of time was dedicated to proper brushing techniques. No joke, we had entire classes on the subject. Riveting. Why am I a dentist again? The most popular, and apparently most effective, is called the “Modified Bass” technique. For those so inclined, here is a link to review research on the superiority of the technique. (Don’t worry, I didn’t read it either!) I will eventually get to my thoughts on dental research on later posts. Sorry, stream of consciousness here…
Do I particularly care if our patients exhibit a perfect Modified Bass Technique? No. What I DO care about is that our patients be EFFECTIVE at brushing and flossing. We constantly talk about splitting the tooth into sections, above and below the braces. The area where most patients miss is where the tooth and gum meet. And this is where most of the plaque gathers. Seeing a potential problem here???? The most important area to clean is also the most frequently missed during brushing…!
Here is a link to our Youtube page with a series of videos on how to clean with braces. Watch it. And watch it again. Tell your loved ones how much it changed your life.
We are in charge of making your smile amazing, and I think we are pretty good at that. But we can’t make you brush and floss. The responsibility is yours. OWN it! You’ll be glad you did.