Brushing Technique and Fixed Braces
It is inevitable that a fixed brace will make dental hygiene difficult, because there are a lot of corners and crevices that are difficult to clean. But the same principles apply to dental hygiene with fixed braces as they do to normal dental care. We recommend the Bass Technique for cleaning the teeth where a fixed brace and bracket is fitted: put the head of the toothbrush half on the white area (teeth) and half on the red area (gum) and use short up and down movements to clean the teeth so that the toothbrush stays in virtually the same place. One small difference from the normal Bass technique when cleaning teeth that are fitted with brackets is that the brushing movements should be made at an angle of 45 degrees upwards and at the same angle downwards.
This will ensure that any food remnants or plaque is removed from all the little nooks and crannies. This automatically means that cleaning teeth fitted with a fixed brace will take longer than cleaning teeth with brackets. Ideally, teeth without brackets should be cleaned for three minutes whilst teeth with brackets should be cleaned for five minutes. There should also be a quick, superficial clean after breakfast and after lunch.
But all plaque should be completely removed once a day, ideally in the evening. So, in the evening you should ideally clean for the full five minutes! Sticking to this regime should ensure that any damage to the teeth as a result of a fixed brace is completely avoided.
Cleaning the Gaps between the Teeth with a Fixed Brace
Every child knows that you need a toothbrush to keep teeth healthy. But sometimes even adults do not realise that cleaning between the teeth is just as important. Dental floss and gap toothbrushes are not some kind of luxury for fanatics but are just as fundamental as the toothbrush. Without the right tools to clean between the teeth it is not possible to keep the teeth and gums healthy in the long term: there is a risk of caries and parodontitis if the gaps between the teeth are always full of bacterial plaque. Unfortunately, the use of dental floss during treatment with a fixed brace is severely restricted because the brace wires prevent any thorough cleaning of the gaps between the teeth. You can of course try as best as possible to clean between the teeth using normal floss. Generally it is possible to clean between the front teeth using Superfloss which is a special kind of floss with a threader. But if you take your dental hygiene seriously, get your orthodontist to recommend a suitable inter-dental brush. These little brushes make it possible for most patients to keep the gaps between their teeth perfectly clean during their treatment with a fixed brace. It is a good idea to use these brushes on two or three evenings a week.
However, the use of floss or brushes should be demonstrated by suitably-trained people in the orthodontic practice, because incorrect use of these tools could result in the teeth not being cleaned at all and could even cause damage to the teeth. But for those people who are prepared to take it seriously, it is possible to achieve good dental hygiene in the gaps between the teeth even when undergoing treatment with a fixed brace.