Maintaining good oral health is incredibly important during orthodontic treatment to avoid any complications in the process and to avoid having to do another treatment as soon as the first one is over. Lack of proper hygiene during treatment can have a variety of effects, such as discolored teeth, gum infections, gum bleeding, tooth loss, cavities, etc. To avoid any undesired situations, it’s important to learn how to brush your teeth properly and what tool can help you accomplish it.
What Is an Interdental Brush?
Interdental brushes are small devices, usually round or cone-shaped, that replace floss by scrubbing and cleaning between your teeth. They also have soft bristles attached to the flexible brush head. Additionally, these brushes are easier to use in comparison to floss, they come in different sizes that you can choose depending on the gap between your teeth, and they have thin brushes that are held together by a small handle, which can be easily maneuvered to remove food or debris stuck between your teeth.
Interdental brushes are especially recommended for people who wear braces, suffer from limited mobility, or for those who don’t like to floss. Interdental brushes may be more difficult to find and purchase. However, they are extremely useful in reducing plaque build-up and avoiding gingivitis.
How to Use an Interdental Brush?
The first step to properly using an interdental brush is picking the right size for you. As previously mentioned, there are different sizes of brushes that go according to the space you may have between teeth. You should make an appointment with your dentist as they have a tool that helps them know which size is perfect for you. Given that your teeth aren’t perfectly uniform, you may have to use 2 different sizes of interdental brushes, one for the front teeth and another for the ones in the back.
Use your interdental brush before you brush your teeth as you normally would. Go through the space between every tooth, also called interdental space, one by one with a back and forward motion. Make sure that the brush goes all the way in. For the more difficult places, like the molars, you can bend the tip of your brush at an angle to make it easier to maneuver.
Will I Still Have to Floss?
Most likely, yes. It will depend on every person’s mouth, but sometimes your teeth may be very close together to the point where not even the smallest interdental brush can get in to clean the interdental area. In situations like this is where flossing is still incredibly important. Bacteria will continue to accumulate on the spot, and if left undisturbed, it could eventually become plaque which could then solidify into tartar and cause gum bleeding, infections, cavities, bad breath, and much more.
Remember where these hard spots to reach are in your mouth and clean them at least once a day. When using floss, try thinking about cleaning the side of the teeth more than going up and down on the crevice. Doing so could result in you cutting your gums if you’re not careful.
If you are wearing an orthodontic appliance, you can use tools such as a floss threader or a floss pick to get to the real hard places where both interdental brushes and floss have a hard time reaching.
How Plaque and Cavities Harm Your Treatment
If you are going through an orthodontic treatment such as braces, the last thing you want to have to deal with when you are finally free of your appliances is another treatment to fix an issue that you could have avoided with just proper oral hygiene. This is exactly what can happen if you don’t use proper tools to clean the small crevices between your appliances and your teeth and gums.
During your time with braces, some crevices are very difficult to reach with your regular toothbrush, and without proper care, the bacteria that live in your mouth could accumulate to create plaque which can, in turn, dissolve the enamel of your teeth which leads to tooth decay, cavities, and in more serious situations even complete tooth loss.
Once a cavity develops, your orthodontist will have to decide whether he can treat it with your braces on or if they need to remove it. Although it won’t stop your treatment, it still makes it more unpleasant for the wearer. Of course, this is as long as the patient regularly checks with the orthodontist; if they don’t and the issue escalates to tooth loss, your treatment may receive more of an impact.
Contact Your Orthodontist in Everett
For more information regarding interdental brushes and how to use them during your orthodontic treatment, contact us at Silver Lake Orthodontics here.