Some kids are already at high risk of cavities, with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reporting that 42% of children aged 5-10 have experienced decay in their baby teeth. This risk only increases with braces.
It takes a little more effort to keep the teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment, but choosing the right toothbrush can go a long way towards protecting your oral health. Good oral hygiene helps your teeth stay healthy during treatment so that you end up with the smile you’ve been dreaming about!
Here’s what to consider when selecting your brush.
Designed to Dislodge
Braces typically consist of two parts:
- Brackets that are attached to the teeth with a bonding material.
- An archwire that connects each bracket and pulls the teeth into position.
The brackets and wires can trap even more food particles than usual and make them difficult to remove, increasing bacteria and plaque build-up, as well as adding to the risk of gum inflammation and tooth decay.
With that in mind, it’s important to choose a toothbrush that can dislodge as many food particles and as much plaque as possible. Health Direct recommends choosing one with an arrangement of long and short bristles to hit all of those hard-to-reach spots around your braces.
Small Brushing Head
Braces can be uncomfortable, especially when they’re first fitted or adjusted. Choosing the wrong toothbrush can add to this irritation and even damage your sensitive gums.
A Wide Handle
In order to do the extra manoeuvring your braces will require, choose a toothbrush with a wide handle. This is especially important for kids who don’t yet have the dexterity to work with a slim handle.
Found the right toothbrush? Now it’s time to perfect your technique. The ADA advises holding your toothbrush at a 45° angle to your gums, first downwards to clean the tops of the brackets, then upwards to brush the bottoms.
A Helping Hand
Even with the ideal toothbrush and perfect brushing technique, food debris can still get left behind. Orthodontics Australia recommends using specially adapted floss and/or interdental brushes to catch any particles and plaque missed by brushing.
Even if your child is old enough to brush independently, it’s a good idea to supervise their toothbrushing during orthodontic treatment, at least in the beginning. Cleaning braces effectively can be a challenge even for adults, and with the increased risk of tooth decay and gingivitis that comes with braces, it’s better to err on the safe side.