Toothbrush

Proper Braces Hygiene

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Can you believe it? 2014 is almost over already! We hope all of you in Ottawa had wonderful holiday celebrations with your friends and families, and wish nothing but the best for 2015. With the new year right around the corner, people all over the capital city are learning from their experiences this year and looking forward to more success in the upcoming year by creating New Year’s resolutions. You’ve may have heard a friend resolving to be more frugal or take up a new hobby. Maybe your sister has vowed to go to the gym everyday, or perhaps you’ve even thought of a resolution for yourself, to further your career or live a more healthy lifestyle. Although it takes a lot of determination to change your routine for the whole year, a resolution to live healthier is actually a great way to start the year off on the right foot.

girl with braces cleaning teeth

For those Ottawans with braces, if your New Year’s resolution involves healthier living, why not try an easy change to your routine, like an upgrade to your teeth-cleaning regimen? Don’t worry, we’re not here to give you a lecture, but if you’re planning to get your braces off next year, it is important to understand that if proper brushing techniques are not executed, you can be left with undesired discoloring, cavities on your teeth, or even swollen and infected gum tissue. You don’t have to panic, though, because we are here to help!

Following these steps while brushing your teeth will help you achieve proper braces hygiene and that perfect smile at the end of your orthodontic treatment:

  1. Rinse your mouth with water to remove any loose food particles.

  2. Using a regular bristle toothbrush and your favourite toothpaste, brush back and forth at about a 45 degree angle from your teeth on top of and below the wires.

  3. Make sure to brush not only the brackets, wires and front of your teeth, but also the chewing surface, sides and back of the teeth, as well as the roof of your mouth, the insides of your cheeks, your tongue and  your gums!

  4. Some tooth brushes are labeled “orthodontic” but really any tooth brush work just fine.  The orthodontic ones makes it a little easier to brush since they are smaller, double-ended brush with a cone shape on one end, and a tuft on the other designed to clean hard-to-reach areas. Each of these ends can also be found as individual brushes.  They can de used to clean between brackets and behind the wires with the cone brush, upwards from the bottom of the tooth, and from the gum line downward. Use the smaller end for tight, over-crowded areas.

  5. Rinse your mouth once again, this time swish mouthwash around and try to be as thorough as possible, swishing around each tooth.

For a demonstration of brushing and cleaning techniques with braces, check out this video, or ask us at your next appointment – we would be happy to show you. All it takes to achieve your goal of well-being is just a little more commitment to your own oral hygiene, not only for a New Year’s resolution, but for your overall health.

Teen girl with braces and doctor with patient in background.

We wish you luck with your new routine and your 2015 New Year’s resolution! Happy New Year, Ottawa!


Braces-Friendly Stocking Stuffers

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Christmas stockings on fireplace mantel

The holidays are approaching quickly and people all around Ottawa are preparing for various family celebrations. Every family has their own traditions, and one of the most well-known Christmas conventions is the filling of stockings with treats and goodies. In fact, it can be just as fun to fill a stocking as it is to open one! There are, however, some family and friends who require a little extra thought and care when purchasing Christmas gifts.

While you’re picking out items to fill the stockings of your loved ones, it’s important to remember those family members with orthodontic appliances. As we all know, there are many sugary holiday treats that can be detrimental for braces, not to mention unhealthy. Last year, we gave a few tips for maintaining oral health during the holidays – always great to remind ourselves! – but this year, we are focusing on all the goodies and gifts found in a Christmas stocking.

Kid's toothbrush

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

The best gift an Ottawa orthodontist can recommend is, not surprisingly, a toothbrush! Add a fun toothbrush or new kind of toothpaste to get children excited about brushing their teeth. The novelty of a special toothbrush may not last forever, but it will help to encourage them to keep brushing their teeth throughout the busy, treat-filled days until the New Year. There are several options for kids’ toothbrushes with cartoon characters, glow-in-the-dark abilities, and some even play music. Plus, children’s toothpaste comes in different flavours like watermelon and strawberry, which can also help make brushing a more exciting activity. For adults, it’s always nice to get a new toothbrush – how many of us think about routinely replacing our old one? – in fact, it’s recommended to change your toothbrush every 3 months for proper oral hygiene and care. Some adult toothbrushes even come with special capabilities like pulsing vibrations and special bristles. Check out our Toothbrush Buying Guide for the pros and cons of manual and powered toothbrushes, and tips for brushing with braces.

Healthy, Braces and Orthodontics-Friendly Treats

Everyone loves to get sweets in their stocking. Chocolate, candy canes, and other sugary treats abound over the holiday season, so it’s always a good idea to know what to avoid when shopping for family and friends with orthodontic appliances. For a list of braces-friendly treats and a list of treats to avoid, check out our tips from National Orthodontic Month, Halloween and Valentine’s Day.

The highlights: stick to chocolates (without nuts or caramel) or soft candies, and chips are great as long as they’re eaten carefully so as to not break or damage the braces. You can also try unconventional goodies like bags of herbal tea or hot chocolate mix as a tasty stocking stuffer.

Braces at Christmas

Creative Alternatives

Who says stockings have to be filled exclusively with candy? This is an opportunity to be creative with your holiday gifting! Find fun, unique ways to wrap small gifts to place in their stockings; hide a gift card in a toilet paper tube, or stick a t-shirt into a small jar or tin. Not only will your sneaky gift-wrapping allow for a fun surprise, it also gives you more options for gifts to avoid putting too many sweets in the stockings.

Shopping for those who are undergoing an orthodontic treatment shouldn’t have to add stress to your holiday preparations. It’s actually a perfect opportunity for you to get creative and find fun alternatives to the usual stocking stuffers. It will also allow you to find more personal gifts that will have more of an impact, and carry a stronger sentiment for the one receiving them. After all, love and family are really what the holidays are all about. Have fun stuffing stockings, and have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season, Ottawa!


Toothbrush Buying Guide

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When taking care of your oral hygiene, the most essential daily activity you can do is brush your teeth. When brushing your teeth it is important to purchase one that will effectively and properly get the job done. Look for the Canadian Dental Association’s seal of approval to ensure that an independent body of scientific experts has evaluated the product. Additional considerations come down to making sure the design of the brush is effective by making your experience comfortable, efficient and personalized.

Manual vs. Powered

An alternative to manual brushes is a rechargeable electric toothbrush that can help you maintain the health of your teeth and gums. The brushing action of these “power” brushes is very different from the manual variety. The electric brush provides the movement and you only need to guide it. It might take a while to get used to, but the trick is simply moving it properly over the surface area of your teeth.

Electric brushes aren’t necessarily better for your teeth but they can make it more convenient for your brushing routine. Additionally, young children might find brushing with an electric brush more fun than with a manual one. If you have difficulty brushing with a manual toothbrush it might be worthwhile to give it a try and see if you find it more comfortable or easier. Essentially this distinction is simply a matter of choice and preference so try both and see which one you prefer.

Size

An important decision when considering a purchase is the size of the toothbrush head. For best results and comfort, it is essential that this portion of the brush be properly sized for maneuverability and be capable of reaching every corner of your mouth. Make sure that you can properly reach to the sides and backs of your molars as well as having it fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. For ease of use, small-headed brushes are preferable over larger ones. When it comes to handle size, type and shape this is simply a matter of personal preference and you should pick the one that suits you best. Ask your dentist if you need a little more guidance on what size of toothbrush is best for you.

Bristle Variety

When visiting the drugstore you are presented with quite a few options when selecting bristles for your brush: soft, medium or hard nylon bristles. For most people the safest and preferred choice is soft bristles. When brushing too vigorously with medium or hard bristles you can compromise the strength of your teeth, damaging the gums as well as the root surface.

The shape of bristles can customize your tooth brushing routine even further. Available options include a cup shaped design to better accommodate the shape of your teeth, diagonal patterns to better clean the sides of your teeth or there might be slightly longer bristles intermixed that serve to get in between teeth while brushing. Look for brushes that features bristles with rounded tips for additional protection.

Toothbrush Care

Seeing as the primary use of a toothbrush is to eliminate bacteria from your mouth, you should take care that it is sanitary and bacteria-free. When going on a vacation or a trip you should cover it or keep it in a container to avoid the accumulation of dirt and harmful bacteria. When you are at home you should do the exact opposite and only store your toothbrush in vertically and in open air. This is to ensure that the moisture in the bristles can evaporate, which is important in the constantly humid environment of a bathroom.

You can explore using “toothbrush sanitizers” but there is no solid evidence that they work any better than rinsing with water and letting dry in open air. Do not attempt to sanitize your toothbrush with your oven or microwave; excessive heat will damage the brush. There is also no need to panic about a minimal amount of bacteria, which can be present on your toothbrush. The human body is constantly exposed to unfriendly microorganisms; the body is normally capable of defending itself through a variety of mechanisms inherent to how our body functions. With proper care by simply rinsing and air-drying, there is no adverse effect due to the bacteria on toothbrushes.

Each individual in your household shoÍuld have a personal toothbrush that shouldn’t be used with others. Sharing will cause an exchange of bodily fluids and microorganisms that might be harmful to everyone using the brush. With use, the bristles will become more worn and frayed which can lead to it being less effective in removing bacteria. To ensure good oral hygiene, replace toothbrushes every 3-4 months.

Brushing with Braces

Your routine when brushing remains the same while you have your braces. You continue to use the same brushes. You maintain a routine of brushing the fronts, sides, backs, chewing surfaces of your teeth. Continue to brush the tongue and roof of your mouth for a full two minutes. You can ask your dentist to prescribe you fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay even further. When your braces are nice and shiny with the brackets clear and clean, you’ve done a great job! If you need help, feel free to ask your Ottawa orthodontist for any recommendations.