Oral hygiene is important – especially during orthodontic treatment. While orthodontics is a wonderful investment in your oral health, it is important to know that you have an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay when wearing braces. This is because food and plaque collect on the surfaces of orthodontic appliances and because braces can make cleaning teeth more cumbersome.
Patients with braces should practice vigilant oral hygiene in addition to having frequent follow-up appointments with our orthodontist.
If we brush properly, we can clean about 70% of the surfaces in our mouth. Brushing thoroughly controls the development of plaque and tartar. We should brush our teeth at least twice a day, preferably when we wake up and before we go to bed.
It takes a couple minutes to brush since we need to clean all sides of our teeth, the gums, tongue, and roof of the mouth. Patients should choose soft bristled brushes or brush heads and ADA-approved toothpaste for effective brushing.
Even though brushing is important, it doesn’t improve interdental hygiene. We must use interdental cleaners like floss to clean between our teeth. Since braces can make flossing more difficult, it is important for orthodontics patients to make extra time in their schedules for oral hygiene. Floss should be threaded behind the archwires of braces to avoid breaking them and to reach between teeth.
Some people wearing braces choose to use other types of Interdental cleaners like handheld disposable picks and water irrigators.
Our diet affects oral health. If we consume starchy and sugary foods, we feed bacteria. Harmful oral bacteria grow stronger and colonize after feeding on sugar molecules. They also release acids, which can weaken tooth enamel, as a by-product of the feeding process. The American Dental Association encourages people to limit intake of sugary and starchy food items.
Our orthodontist is accepting new patients. Call Fleming Orthodontics to reserve a consultation with our helpful team.