Hygienist Corner

Oral Hygiene Advice


Electric toothbrushes

There are many toothbrushes to choose from and we appreciate that some can be quite expensive. We recommend you choose an electric toothbrush, ideally with an oscillating head. Special attachments are available to help you clean around braces. Examples of electric toothbrushes include Sonic or Oscillating models. When using an electric toothbrush hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line and hold the toothbrush still! It’s a hard technique to master at first as we are so used to moving a brush. But trust me - it works!

Manual toothbrushes

When using a manual toothbrush always choose a simple design with no plastic within the bristles. Try and ensure all the bristles are the same length and shape. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line and gently vibrate the toothbrush back and forth over two teeth at a time for about three seconds. Do not brush too hard! This can damage the tooth and make the gums ‘move back’.

Remember whatever you are using:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Brush before bed
  • Never rinse your mouth our after brushing for at least 30 minutes, the toothpaste needs time to do its job! Think of it as more of a leave-in conditioner than a shampoo!
  • If you use a mouthwash use it at a different time to brushing - such as lunchtime or after school
  • Change your toothbrush head every three months
  • Use a disclosing tablet two to three times weekly to help identify plaque

Single Tufted or Interspace Brush

  • Great for cleaning around the brackets of fixed braces
  • Trouble with your wisdom teeth? This small head means better access for all molar teeth - work around the gum line in circular motions
  • Has your hygienist told you that you have pockets or gum problems? This is a fabulous brush to target isolated gum problems or areas where you are missing a tooth and finding it difficult to clean either side of the space

Implant Brush by Tepe

This angled toothbrush means easier cleaning behind your lower teeth and better access to the back of the mouth where you may find it difficult to reach. If you tend to gag with a normal toothbrush then this ensures an easier and more comfortable experience. It is called an Implant Brush but using it around braces or tricky areas is absolutely fine. Again, use along the gum line in small circular motions.

Cleaning in between the teeth

Cleaning in between the teeth is vital to ensure the prevention of gum disease around natural teeth, implants and those with crowns or appliances. By getting in between the teeth manually you are able to break up the bacteria which are responsible for causing gum disease.

Interdental Brushes

There are many different brands to choose from and they are usually colour coded according to the size. The most important thing to do is not to force the brush into spaces it doesn’t fit. You normally need two or three different brush sizes to access all gaps in between the teeth.

If you have a fixed appliance use an interdental brush in between the brackets and as a ‘miniature toothbrush’.

Floss or Floss Picks

When using floss choose whatever works for you. It’s vital to ensure you get underneath the gum line. You see the tiny triangle of gum in between your teeth? That’s where plaque sits and that’s where you need to get the floss. Gently work the floss either side of that triangle and work up and down two or three times. Thread ‘Superfloss’ in between braces to achieve the same result. Our Hygienist can show you how to do this.

When flossing around implants use a thicker floss and get right under the Crown of the implant to floss to the top of the actual ‘screw’ of the implant.

Oral Irrigator

These devices use water and oxygen to disturb the bacteria sitting in between your teeth. Please read the instruction manual for each product before use.

Mouth Wash

Mouth wash is not ideal for everybody but there are many different types designed to do the following:
  • Help relieve a dry mouth
  • Help to reduce tooth decay
  • Freshen breath
  • Help prevent stain build-up

Mouth washes NEVER replace brushing or cleaning in between the teeth. Generally you should choose a Fluoridated, Alcohol Free mouth wash and use at a different time to brushing - such as after school or lunch time. Always ask your dentist or hygienist which one, if any, is right for you.


Toothpastes are designed to help introduce fluoride into the mouth and to help you effectively lift and remove plaque using foaming agents. There are also toothpastes designed to alleviate dry mouths, prevent sensitivity and help prevent tooth decay. There are also fluoride-free toothpastes if you prefer and toothpastes without foaming agents (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) if you have sensitive skin. When using fluoride it’s important to check the content.

We recommend the following:

  • Children under three should brush twice daily with a smear of toothpaste containing no less than 1000ppm fluoride.
  • Children aged 3-6 should brush at least twice daily with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing more than 1000ppm fluoride.
  • Adults and children over six should brush at least twice daily with toothpaste containing 1350-1500ppm fluoride.
  • All children should be supervised until the age of 10. Unless your child can tie their shoe laces or do ‘joined-up-writing’ then it is unlikely that they have the dexterity to brush by themselves.
  • Encourage children to try brushing and then clean the teeth yourself - a double brush does no harm! Use disclosing tablets to help identify where the plaque usually sits.

Care & Maintenance Instructions for Removable Appliances

Brushing is more important than ever. Be sure to concentrate on the area between the fitting surface of the plate and the gums. This is where the plaque collects and will cause unsightly build-up around your teeth and needs to be removed.

Use your normal toothbrush to clean your removable appliance.  No toothpaste is needed for this and you can also use a soaking solution (2-3 times per week) to clean your appliances. This solution is available from reception.

Between meals, any foods that contains sugar (natural or added) should be strictly avoided! Meal times are not as critical and a normal diet can be followed.

Hard foods should be eaten with great care as they will damage or break the appliance: avoid chewing gum.

In general keep objects such as pencils, pens and fingernails out of the mouth.  Do not fiddle with these appliances.

Should you suffer from any mouth ulcers or have any sharp bits digging into your lips or cheeks, please contact us and we will advise you accordingly.


  • No hard, sticky, crunchy or chewy foods i.e. chewing gums, toffee, caramel, hard/sticky sweets, nuts.
  • Any healthy foods i.e. apples and carrots need to be cut up into small bite-sized pieces and eaten on the back teeth.
  • No biting of finger nails/pen lids.
  • Water/milk are the best things to drink when thirsty.
  • Fizzy drinks and drinks high in sugar are to be kept to a minimum. Drink through a straw and rinse mouth with water afterwards.
  • Fruit juices are to be had with a meal.
Discomfort & Breakages:
  • Painkillers can be taken if needed - take what you would for a headache. Discomfort and pain can last up to 10 days.
  • The wax provided can be used if brackets/wires are causing discomfort.
  • Dry the area thoroughly.
  • Roll a small piece of wax and push it on the brace. The wax then acts as a duvet for the cheek.
  • There may be breakages to your brace. If so, call reception and inform them of the problem. The more information you give us the better we can assist you. We will then give you further instructions.
  • If you do need a breakage appointment then wait until the teeth have settled down before calling reception for an appointment.


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