Tag: brushing

Back To School Tips For Orthodontic Patients

Back To School Tips For Orthodontic Patients

School has returned! Summer is coming to an end, fall sports are gearing up, and all the children are headed back to school. At West Paces Ferry Orthodontics, Atlanta’s top provider of Invisalign, our Orthodontists, Dr. Paul Yurfest & Dr. Kristin Huber, want to offer a few helpful tips for going back to school with braces or Invisalign® aligners!

Beautiful Teenage Woman Brushing TeethMake sure to follow the 2×2 brushing rule: brush your teeth for TWO minutes, TWO times each day! Proper brushing will help keep your teeth and braces clean, which leads to quicker appointments and healthier teeth. If you want to brush after lunch, keep the travel toothbrush we gave you in your backpack. Brush your braces!

Bring a water bottle to school. Drinking water throughout the day helps to keep your mouth clean, fight cavities and tooth decay. Sugary drinks increase your chance for cavities, so stick with water, and you cannot go wrong!

Keep an extra pack of elastics in your backpack. If you have a locker, it is wise to store some extra rubber bands in there too. Remember that those elastics help move teeth, so not wearing them consistently will result in longer treatment times!

We know you have to eat well to perform well in the classroom. Always eat smart at every meal! Avoid foods that are hard, crunchy, or chewy to prevent bending wires or knocking off brackets. Damage to your braces can cause discomfort and lengthen your treatment time. Good breakfast foods for children with braces include yogurt, fruit smoothies, and eggs.

Check out your lunch menu every week to make sure something is offered each day that you like and can eat with braces. We recommend cooked vegetables, softer foods like spaghetti,AdobeStock_132329952.jpeg macaroni and cheese, and lean cuts of meat. Avoid chips, soft drinks, and sports drinks. Pack your lunch and take it with you if the choices are not right for you.

Bananas make a great snack. They are high in potassium and fiber which promotes heart and bone health. If you like hard fruits such as apples or pears, you must cut them into pieces before you leave for school and chew them with your back teeth. Biting into hard fruits can damage your braces.

If you are wearing Invisalign aligners, it is critical to have them on for at least 22 hours a day.  The good news is you can do almost all of your normal activities while wearing your trays!  Drinking sugar-free beverages and eating light snacks does not require you to remove your aligners!  Whenever you brush your teeth, you should also clean your aligners.

Good luck in the upcoming school year and remember to care for your teeth and braces every day properly! Contact West Paces Ferry Orthodontics in Atlanta, Georgia with any questions or to schedule an initial complimentary consultation!PY_Huber.png




How to Properly Brush Your Teeth

How to Properly Brush Your Teeth

Good oral hygiene is not just for a whiter smile and fresher breath, it’s important for your overall health.[1]  Brushing your teeth removes plaque—a thin film of bacteria that sticks to your teeth and will cause cavities, gum disease, and if you ignore it long enough, will cause your teeth to fall out! Bad breath affects how people want to be near us.[2] You know why to brush, but if you would like to learn how to brush your teeth effectively, these suggestions will help.

Use A Good Toothbrush

Choose a toothbrush with soft nylon bristles. This will effectively remove plaque and debris from your teeth, without irritating the gums or eroding tooth enamel like hard bristled brushes can do when used with sideways action. The toothbrush should also fit comfortably in your hand, and have a head small enough to easily reach all of your teeth, especially the ones at the back. If you have difficulty fitting the toothbrush into your mouth, it is probably too big.[3]

  • Electric toothbrushes are a great choice. However, you can do a good job with a manual toothbrush — it’s all in the technique.
  • You should definitely avoid toothbrushes with “natural” bristles made from animal hair as these can harbor bacteria and are hard.


Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly

The bristles will wear out over time, losing their flexibility and effectiveness. You should purchase a new toothbrush every year, or as soon as the bristles start to splay out and lose their shape. Visual inspection of the toothbrush is more important than the actual timeline.

  • Researchers have established that thousands of microbes grow on toothbrush bristles and handles if stored improperly.[4]
  • Always rinse your brush after using it, and store it upright and uncovered so that it can dry before your next use. Otherwise bacteria will grow.[5]


Use A Fluoride Toothpaste

It not only helps remove plaque, it also helps strengthen tooth enamel.[6] However, it’s important to note that fluoride toothpaste is not to be swallowed. It should not be used for children under the age of 3.[7]

You can get toothpastes to target a wide variety of dental and gum problems, including cavities, tartar, sensitive teeth and gums, gingivitis and stained teeth. Choose the one that suits your best or ask your dentist or hygienist for advice.[8]


Use A Small Amount Of Toothpaste

Squeeze only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto your toothbrush. Applying too much toothpaste can cause to much foam to form, tempting you to spit and finish too early. Plus, it increases the risk of you ingesting more fluoride-filled toothpaste. [9]


  • If brushing is painful, try brushing more gently with accurate up/down motion only or switch to a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth.
  • Set your bristles at the gum line at a 45-degree angle. Gently brush with a short, vertical or circular motion. Bite your teeth together as you brush and brush the gum line. Don’t brush across your teeth.[10]
  • Spend three minutes brushing. Brushing just a few teeth at a time, work your way around your mouth in a cycle (start outside lower left round to outside lower right then outside upper right to upper left, change to inside uppers before inside upper right ,inside lower right, finally inside lower left). Be sure that you get every tooth, spending about 10 seconds in each spot. If it helps, you can divide your mouth into quadrants: top left, top right, bottom left, and bottom right.
  • If you get bored, try brushing your teeth while watching television or hum a song to yourself while you brush. Brushing your teeth for the duration of an entire song will ensure that you brush thoroughly!


Brush Your Molars

Position the toothbrush so that the bristles are resting on top of your bottom molars. Work the toothbrush in an in-and-out motion, and move from the back of your mouth to the front. Repeat on the other side of your mouth. When the bottom teeth are clean, flip the toothbrush over and work on the top molars. To access outside top molars always swing the lower jaw to the side you are working on. This will increase the space available to move your brush up and down by several times so that no sideways motion occurs .


Brush The Inner Surfaces Of Your Teeth

Tip the toothbrush so that the head of the toothbrush is pointing towards your gum line, and brush each tooth. Dentists report that the most commonly skipped area is the inside of the lower front teeth, so be sure not to forget those or other areas hard to reach![11]


Gently Brush Your Tongue

After you’ve cleaned your teeth, use the bristles of your toothbrush to gently clean your tongue. (Don’t press too hard, or you’ll damage the tissue.) This helps keep bad breath away and gets rid of bacteria on your tongue.


Rinse Out Your Mouth

If you choose to rinse after brushing, take a sip of water. Swish it around your mouth, and spit it out.

  • Note that there is some debate on whether or not this is recommended. While some feel that it reduces the efficacy of the topical fluoride treatment, others wish to ensure that no fluoride is ingested. There are also those who just don’t like having toothpaste in their mouths! If you’re at a high risk of getting cavities, it may be beneficial not to rinse, or rinse with just a small amount of water—effectively creating a fluoride mouthwash.[12]
  • Other studies have shown that rinsing after brushing has no significant impact on the effectiveness of brushing with a fluoride toothpaste.[13]


Rinse Your Toothbrush

Hold your toothbrush under running water for a few seconds to remove any bacteria from the brush. If you don’t rinse the toothbrush properly, you can actually introduce old bacteria into your mouth the next time you use it. Rinsing also removes any leftover toothpaste. Place your toothbrush somewhere where it will easily dry out.

Finish with a fluoride-based mouthwash (Optional). Take a small sip of mouthwash, swish it in your mouth for about 30 seconds, and spit it out. Be careful not to swallow any.


Remember to brush at least twice a day. Most dentists recommend that you brush at least twice a day — once in the morning and once before bed (this is the most important time to brush). If you can fit in a third time somewhere in the middle, even better!   Remember to brush at a 45° angle as this helps remove plaque and food/drink particles on your teeth better than if you did it normally. You should also try to avoid snacking on sticky candy between meals as much as possible, as this results in more food debris and bacteria building up in the mouth.





  1. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/news/20100527/brushing-teeth-may-keep-heart-disease-away
  2. http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=b&iid=291&aid=1134
  3. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/healthy-teeth-10/brushing-teeth-mistakes
  4. http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/brushing.htm
  5. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00003
  6. http://www.ada.org/1322.aspx
  7. http://www.fluoridealert.org/issues/dental-products/toothpastes/
  8. http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Oral-Hygiene/Brushing-and-Flossing/article/How-to-Brush.cvsp
  9. http://blog.juliegillisdds.com/?p=47
  10. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/healthy-teeth-10/brushing-teeth-mistakes?page=2
  11. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/healthy-teeth-10/brushing-teeth-mistakes?page=2
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8281561
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12399689
  14. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/brushing-your-teeth/AN02098
  15. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/healthy-teeth-10/brushing-teeth-mistakes?page=1