You can floss with braces on

Proper care and oral hygiene for fixed braces


08/03/16 (ams). With brackets, misaligned teeth can be corrected well. But these tight-fitting braces have a lot of tight spots that are difficult to clean. In order to prevent tooth decay from developing under the wires and platelets, which means that the teeth are straight but full of holes, wearers of fixed braces have to clean their teeth regularly and particularly carefully. Brackets are small plates made of metal, ceramic or plastic that are glued to the teeth. An elastic arch connects the platelets with one another. Feathers or rubber chains are attached to the brackets and constantly exert a slight pull on the teeth. The orthodontist readjusts the arches at regular intervals and so the teeth slowly slide into the desired position. "If you wear fixed braces, conventional dental care is not enough. You have to clean your teeth and braces particularly carefully, preferably after every meal," says Katja Kühler, dentist at the AOK. Brackets do not attack tooth enamel. But food residues get stuck between the teeth as well as on the wires and the corners of the brackets particularly quickly with brace wearers. In their hard-to-reach corners, plaque can quickly build up if you don't brush thoroughly. Many millions of bacteria cavort in the plaque. For example, they convert sugar and starch into acid, which in turn attacks the tooth enamel and decalcifies the tooth. The gums are also permanently damaged and can easily become inflamed.

Broadcastable radio o-tones with Katja Kühler, dentist at the AOK

Well cleaned in six steps

Proper dental care for brackets initially requires a little practice and patience. But the technique can be learned quickly if you consistently stick to a certain sequence when brushing your teeth. "It can be helpful to divide brushing into six steps," recommends dentist Kühler. The basic equipment you need is a medium-hard short-headed toothbrush, dental floss and an interdental brush:

  • First, the mouth is rinsed out with water. In this way, larger remains of a meal can be removed from the teeth. You can also clean a little between the wires so that the last bits of food can come off.
  • In the second step, the surfaces between the gums and the tooth are cleaned; move the brush in small circles so that the gums are massaged at the same time.
  • Next are the brackets. It is best to clean in sections, first the brackets themselves and then the areas above and below; hold the toothbrush at an oblique angle, so when cleaning the upper surface, the brush is pointing downwards at an angle. Then clean the area underneath with the brush pointing diagonally upwards. In this way you can also reach the gap under the arch of the braces.
  • In the fourth step, the inner surfaces of the teeth and the chewing surfaces of the upper and lower molars are brushed as usual.
  • Then you take the interdental brush and a piece of dental floss to clean the narrow spaces between the teeth. The brushes and floss do not have to be used after every meal, but they should be used once a day. Incidentally, a so-called Superfloss or one with a reinforced end should be used as the dental floss. It has a larger surface than normal dental floss and cleans better.
  • In the last and sixth step, a look in the mirror is recommended. Maybe you overlooked a place that still needs to be cleaned.

Regular use of fluoride gel strengthens teeth and also protects against tooth decay. Proper oral hygiene also includes diet. "In principle, people with fixed braces can eat anything they like. However, sticky foods and sweets should be the exception because of the increased risk of tooth decay. You should avoid chewing gum or highly sticky candies at all, because they quickly stick in the braces and make them difficult Cleaning, "said Kühler. Caution is also advised with hard foods such as nuts or raw vegetables. You can damage the brackets or even break them off. It therefore helps to crush nuts and similar hard foods before chewing them.

On the ams topic 02/16

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