Brushing & Flossing

Quality Orthodontic Care in Salisbury & Berlin, MD

two wooden toothbrushes in a mason jar copy

At Tilghman Orthodontics, our patients matter the most. We offer top-quality, personalized orthodontic treatment, including braces and Invisalign, to patients in and around Salisbury and Berlin, MD. Dr. Michael Tilghman and Dr. Carrie Schwartz want you to have a healthy, beautiful smile at the conclusion of treatment, making it very important to practice excellent oral hygiene each and every day.

Proper Brushing Techniques

Our patients know how important it is to brush their teeth when wearing braces — but what's the best way to do so? First, make sure you’re using the right toothbrush. Either a soft-bristle brush or a bi-level brush (one that has shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges) can be effective. Used carefully, an electric toothbrush can work just as well, but be sure the electric brush is set to a moderate power level, and don't let its vibrations cause the back of the brush to hit the braces! Brush using a fluoride toothpaste at least two times per day (preferably after meals), for at least two minutes each time.

What To Look Out For

It’s important to brush all surfaces of the teeth - the outside, the inside, and the chewing surfaces. Use the following technique. Beginning with the outside surfaces, place the tips of the bristles flat against your teeth, and use small circular motions to gently polish them clean. Be especially careful to clean the areas between wires and teeth, where food particles can easily become trapped.

For areas between brackets and gums, tilt the brush toward the gum line (down for the bottom teeth, up for the top) while keeping up the circular motions. Next, move on to the chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth, using a firm back-and-forth motion. Finally, finish up by carefully brushing the inside surfaces of the teeth the same way you did the outside surfaces.

Special Brushing Tools

If you're having trouble cleaning the areas near brackets and wires, there are some special tools that may help. The interdental toothbrush, or proxabrush, has a small tuft of bristles that stick up all around, like a pipe cleaner. Use it gently and carefully to clean the tiny spaces under wires and around bands and brackets. Another special cleaning tool is the oral irrigator or “water pick.” This device shoots a small stream of pressurized water at your teeth, which can help dislodge bits of food that become trapped in nooks and crannies. While it's easy to use, an oral irrigator isn't a substitute for a toothbrush or dental floss — but when used along with proper brushing and flossing techniques, it can be very effective.


adult man flossing in front of a mirror

To keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, you need to floss at least once per day. But how do you get floss under the archwire of your braces? It's not so hard with the help of a floss threader. Using this device is somewhat like threading a needle. First, pull one end of floss through the threader, and then push the threader — carrying with it the free end of the floss — under the archwire. Then, grasp the floss on each end and slide it up and down the sides of both teeth, and all the way under the gums until you hear a squeaky sound. Finally, pull it out and use a new section of floss for the next area.

Contact Tilghman Orthodontics Today!

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy now is an investment in your future, enabling you to get the best results from your orthodontic treatment. Our friendly staff is always available to discuss any questions or concerns you have related to oral hygiene or any of the services we provide, so we encourage you to contact us, or fill out our appointment request form to schedule a visit. We can’t wait to welcome you into our orthodontic family!