Before and after your Invisalign treatment, you must make sure you practice proper dental hygiene by cleaning between your teeth. The small gaps between them are hard to reach with a toothbrush, making it easy for bacteria to take hold. This can lead to cavities. Plaque and tartar can also form in these gaps, which may eventually lead to gingivitis (gum inflammation).
Here at MiSmile, we stress the importance of caring for your teeth by flossing, even if you are wearing Invisalign braces. While we have already discussed the benefits of interdental brushes, there are actually several different options available to you:
Tooth flossing is one the most common ways to clean between your teeth. Floss consists of a strong piece of waxed string, which is rolled inside a dispenser. Floss is usually flavoured with mint, though plain floss is also available.
To floss, a length of string is wound around a finger on each hand, while the taut part of the string slides between the teeth. The string should move in a side-to-side, and up-and-down motion to remove bits of food and plaque build-up between the teeth. Done properly, it is one of the most effective interdental cleaning methods available.
Toothpicks are common in restaurants and can be made of either wood or plastic. Toothpicks are small, pointed sticks that are meant to scrape food out from between the teeth. While toothpicks are commonly available, they are not the safest or most effective method to clean your teeth.
Toothpicks can scratch and damage the enamel on your teeth and further increase your risk of cavities. The can even dislodge previous dental work, such as a filling.
Flosser picks are a cross between a toothpick and floss. One end of the flosser pick has a piece of floss mounted on it, while the other end is a pointed pick. While flosser picks can be an effective way to clean between the teeth, they can be a bit tough on the gums if not used properly. It is easy to put too much pressure and injure the sensitive tissue between the teeth if you are not careful.
Dental tape is very like dental floss but has a wider, flat band of material. Dental tape can be easier to control for people with wider gaps between their teeth as it covers a larger surface area. It may also be easier to get into tight spaces with the tape. You can try dental tape for yourself to see what works best for you.
Water picks are devices that spray a jet of water into the spaces between the teeth. This flushes out food and other debris, but there is some debate as to whether they remove plaque effectively or not. While water picks are great for removing bits of food stuck between your teeth, they may still need a follow up with a regular floss to ensure that the area is properly cleaned.
Not all interdental cleaning methods are equal. Some are still more effective than others. Be sure to contact us at MiSmile to learn how you can keep your teeth healthy during your treatment.