Everyone already knows that brushing and flossing your teeth are an extremely important part of oral hygiene. When you have appliances such as braces or clear aligners, it becomes even more important to brush after each meal, as food particles can more easily accumulate around the teeth and gums causing plaque to form. Bacteria that results from this accumulation can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and even loss of teeth. To avoid these problems, Erwin Orthodontics has a few suggestions on oral hygiene:
When undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is important to control your diet and avoid foods that can increase your risk of tooth decay. This means cutting out foods with excessive sugar, especially chewy or sticky, sweet foods (ie. cake, cookies, caramels, caramel apples, toffee, gummy bears, starbursts, sugar daddies, and tootsie rolls, etc…). Other foods that are harsh on your braces include nuts, beef jerky, & corn on the cob. You should also remember, to NEVER chew on ice cubes, pens, pencils, or straws. For more information on proper orthodontic maintenance, please review our Orthodontic Diet Chart.
You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces, as food tends to compact in the brackets and in between your teeth. Erwin Orthodontics recommends brushing 4 times a day (morning, noon, dinner, & bedtime). You also may notice that you need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your appliances. In addition, you may notice that it will be more difficult for your toothbrush to reach some areas. For these hard to reach places, we also recommend the use of an interdental brush, which can get in between the wires, brackets, and teeth. If you have any questions on brushing, please let us know and we can assist you in choosing the right products for your teeth and appliance.
We recommend that you floss at least once a day during orthodontic treatment. This is very important to keep the areas between your teeth healthy. You will find that flossing with braces can be a little tricky, but there are products such as Orthopicks or floss threaders that can help you get the floss behind the wire. If you have any questions on proper brushing or flossing techniques, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Although you are undergoing orthodontic treatment and making regular visits to the orthodontist, it is still very important to schedule visits to your regular dentist every 6 months. While we will monitor your braces, alignment, and bite, your dentist will make sure your teeth stay healthy with cleanings and exams. If extra dental care is needed, we will work with your dentist to make sure you are receiving the best care possible. After all, it is a combined effort between our office and your dentist to make sure you end up with that healthy, straight, beautiful smile that you have always wanted.