Oral Hygiene


At Huls Orthodontics, our mission is to help patients of all ages achieve a beautiful, healthy smile through orthodontic treatment. As the premier orthodontist serving Champaign, Monticello, and the surrounding areas, we're proud to offer a wide range of orthodontic treatment options, working to personalize treatment to fit into each patient's lifestyle. But in addition to braces, Invisalign, and our other in-office treatments, how you care for your teeth at home is a major factor in achieving your new smile, and it all starts with oral hygiene.

Brushing with Braces

brush3Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of good oral hygiene, and it's even more critical while wearing braces. The metal brackets and wires of braces can easily trap small particles of food, and without proper oral hygiene, these can break down into acids that attack tooth enamel and cause cavities. Brushing helps to clear away these food particles and acids, protecting your teeth from decay. While wearing braces, you'll need to brush more frequently than you would normally - we recommend brushing at least four times per day:

  • In the morning after breakfast
  • After lunch or school
  • After dinner
  • Before bedtime

Flossing with Braces

floss2Flossing is another cornerstone of oral hygiene, and while you can still floss just once per day with braces, it will require a little more patience than normal. You'll also need a device called a floss threader, which is essentially a plastic loop with one pointed, elongated end.

To floss your teeth, pull out a length of floss and thread it through the "eye" of the loop. Then, pass the long end of the loop underneath and archwire and pull it through to run the floss underneath the archwire. Once the floss is underneath the archwire, you can floss that tooth normally. Now, simply repeat the process for each gap between the teeth.

For best results, we recommend flossing at night just before bed, as this leaves your teeth clean as you sleep.

Rinsing with an Antibacterial Mouthwash

rinseIn addition to brushing and flossing, using a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse can help control bacteria, prevent decay and infection, and soothe any irritation from cuts or scrapes in your mouth from the braces. All you need to do is rinse your mouth for one minute with about 2 teaspoons of a hydrogen peroxide-based mouth rinse, which we can recommend for you.

Interdental Toothbrushes

interdentalAnother helpful tool for oral hygiene with braces is an interdental toothbrush, also called a proxabrush. This is a small, conical brush that closely resembles a pipe cleaner, and it's ideal for dislodging bits of food that are caught under archwires or in brackets. Interdental toothbrushes are also quite small, making them easy to carry around when you're on the go.

Topical Fluoride

brush1To help safeguard your teeth against decay, we may also recommend using a sodium fluoride gel to strengthen tooth enamel and protect against cavities during treatment. To use topical fluoride, simply place a small strip of the gel on a toothbrush and use the brush to apply it to all surfaces of your teeth for 60 seconds. Then, spit out the gel, but don't rinse your mouth out with water - in fact, you'll need to avoid eating or drinking anything for the next 30 minutes to allow time for the fluoride to be absorbed by the teeth. Topical fluoride doesn't replace regular brushing, but it's a great way to give your teeth an extra strength boost during treatment.

Cleaning Your Removable Appliances

retainerIf you're being treated with Invisalign or in the retention phase of treatment, you'll also need to clean your removable appliance every day as a part of your oral hygiene regimen. Thankfully, this is simple: just brush your appliance with a small amount of toothpaste as you would your teeth, and periodically soak it in a glass of tap water with a denture cleaning tablet for a deeper clean. Cleaning your appliance daily will prevent food particles and plaque from accumulating, keeping it fresh and preventing tooth decay.

Contact Your Champaign, Illinois Orthodontist

Oral hygiene is the foundation of healthy teeth, and it's even more important during orthodontic treatment. Feel free to contact us if you have more questions about oral hygiene with braces, or if you'd like to schedule a checkup appointment, you can do so using our online form. We look forward to hearing from you, and we're excited to help you achieve your dream smile!