Maintaining good oral hygiene is important for everyone — but when you’re having orthodontic treatment, it’s even MORE critical. Why? While having any appliances on your teeth they can trap food particles easily. Keeping your teeth clean is a little bit harder …but don’t worry you can still do it!
Here’s a few reasons why good oral hygiene is so very important during any orthodontic treatment, and some tips on how you can keep up with it.
The major enemy= plaque. Food that gets trapped near the surfaces can lead to the start of plaque — a thin coating of microorganisms and organic debris which potentially contains harmful bacteria to the teeth. Braces or other orthodontic applications make it harder to remove this. The bacteria in plaque digest the sugars in food, causing the acids to erode the teeth and gun areas….yuck!
Not too worry, all you have to do is keep the plaque under control So how do we do this? First and most importantly diet, daily maintenance, and regular care.
- Avoiding foods that could increase your risk of developing tooth decay
- Cutting down or eliminating foods with an excess of sugar (soda, sweets, ice cream. toffee, gum, licorice and caramels)
- Foods that are very hard or sticky can cause damage to orthodontic appliances. (hard candies, nuts, beef jerky, hard pizza crust)
- Keep eating healthy foods but cut them into bite-sized pieces first!
- Rule of thumb brushing and flossing are for keeping a healthy smile
- Use a soft-bristle or a bi-level toothbrush (one with longer bristles on the edges and shorter ones in the middle) can help plaque removal — even with braces.
- For hard-to-clean areas, an interdental brush, or proxabrush. The small bristles of this can get in between wires, brackets and teeth
- Flossing, flossing, flossing. Yes we all know the hardest part but you should floss at least once a day during orthodontic treatment. We all know it’s a little harder to do with braces, there are some special products available — including floss threaders and particular kinds of floss — that can help you get the floss between wires and gum line. Our staff will review proper brushing and flossing techniques with you when your braces are put on — but if you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
- Other orthodontic appliances- brushed daily, the same way you brush your teeth.
- The use of a water flosser is a great tool while in treatment (much easier than flossing)
Over 60 studies have definitively shown that the Water Flosser can reverse gingivitis, reduce gingival bleeding, remove plaque, and improve the host response to enhance healing and improve oral health.
- It’s still important to see your regular dentist while getting orthodontic treatment
- The dentist will make sure your teeth stay healthy with thorough examinations, cleanings and care.