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An orthodontic toothbrush is a toothbrush designed for use by someone wearing orthodontic appliances like braces. Permanent appliances can make regular oral care more challenging. Specially designed toothbrushes and other equipment can help patients care properly for their teeth and gums. A dentist may recommend a specific orthodontic toothbrush after appliances are installed and patients can also explore the available options on their own. Many stores carrying toothbrushes stock orthodontic toothbrushes. Dentists may carry them as well, and sometimes have free samples for patients to try out.
A concern with orthodontic appliances is that they can create crevices where food may become trapped. These crevices can contribute to the development of bacterial growth, plaque, and other dental problems. Orthodontic toothbrushes are designed to clean thoroughly around orthodontic appliances, removing buildups of material without damaging the appliances. This will keep the patient's teeth healthier, as well as reducing the risk of staining.
Soft and hard brushes are available. Some have specially angled heads to make it easier to clean the teeth, and can include features like gum stimulators designed to clean and promote healthy blood flow in the gums. Tongue and cheek cleaners can also be built into the design of an orthodontic toothbrush. Patients may also be directed to use special toothpaste, depending on the dentist's experience and the appliance being used. The oral care regimen can include other aspects like flossing to remove detritus from between the teeth.
Patients with new orthodontic appliances are typically given directions to help them care for their teeth, as well as their new hardware. It is important to follow these directions carefully to avoid damaging the appliances. If a patient is not sure about the safety of a particular orthodontic toothbrush, the dentist can be called for advice and recommendations. Patients can also get advice about mouthwash and other oral care products safe for use with an orthodontic appliance. While caring for the teeth can be harder with devices like braces in place, improper oral care can result in costly dental procedures later.
Regular dental care for patients with orthodontic appliances should include periodic checkups to confirm that the devices are positioned properly. Adjustments may be required as well. During these checkups, the dentist can also check on the patient's overall oral health and identify any problem areas in need of treatment. Brushing the teeth regularly with an orthodontic toothbrush can help keep the teeth and the appliance clean and maintain good oral health.