Good Dental Hygiene + Orthodontics = A Smile That’s Good for Life®

It’s important that you take good care of your teeth during orthodontic treatment. By brushing and cleaning in between your teeth regularly, you’ll keep your teeth and gums in top condition and ensure that your orthodontic treatment will deliver the healthiest, most beautiful smile possible. When your braces come off, you’ll see that your extra efforts have been rewarded with a healthy, great-looking smile that’s good for life.

Successful orthodontic treatment – a healthy and beautiful smile – is the result of a team effort between you, your orthodontist and your dentist. You as the patient play the key part. Most importantly, you must keep your teeth, gums and braces clean while you are in orthodontic treatment. Proper dental care will take a little extra time and effort, but it is well worth it. Closely follow the instructions your orthodontist and staff members give you.

Plaque is the Enemy

Plaque is a sticky, colorless lm that collects on your teeth. It’s composed of bacteria, food debris and saliva. When plaque and trapped food are left on your teeth and around your braces, they can cause cavities, swollen gums, bad breath, and permanent marks on your teeth.

When to Brush

You should brush your teeth thoroughly after every meal or snack. If you can’t brush right away after a meal, be sure to at least rinse your mouth well with water until you can brush. Carry a travel toothbrush so that you can brush when away from home. At least once every day, clean between your teeth, then brush your teeth and braces thoroughly until they are spotlessly clean. The best time

of the day to thoroughly clean your teeth and braces is at night, before you go to bed.

How to Brush

Use a uoride toothpaste and a soft, end-rounded bristle toothbrush or power toothbrush that’s in good condition. Your toothbrush or power toothbrush head should be changed frequently since the brackets on your teeth will quickly wear out the bristles. Toothbrushes and power toothbrush heads should be changed at the rst sign of wear or at least every 3 months.

Brush around all the parts of your braces and every surface of your teeth – fronts, sides, and backs and chewing surfaces for at least 2 full minutes. Be sure to brush your tongue
and roof of the mouth, too.

A good way to tell if you’re brushing correctly is if your braces look clean and shiny and you can see the edges of the brackets clearly.

Brush your gums gently and thoroughly.

Rinse thoroughly after brushing with water or a mouth rinse recommended by your orthodontist.

Inspect your teeth and braces regularly and carefully to make sure they are spotless.

Look closely in a well-lighted mirror. This is a good time to check for loose or broken brackets. If you nd a problem, contact the orthodontist’s of ce to see if it needs to be checked out and if time needs to be scheduled to make a repair.

The Problems That Poor Oral Hygiene Can Cause

Good dental hygiene is critical during orthodontic treatment. Without it, plaque and food can accumulate around your braces. The bacteria in plaque react with sugars and starches in food you eat and form an acid that can eat away the enamel on your teeth, leading to permanent white marks, cavities or gum disease.

  1. The white marks left on your teeth around your braces are called decalci cation and these marks will remain on your teeth for life. The best way to avoid decalci cation is to not let it develop at all.
  2. Periodontal (gum) disease, caused by the buildup of plaque, occurs in three stages. In the rst stage, plaque accumulation irritates the gums. Your gums may be red, puffy or swollen. They may bleed when you brush or oss. This infection is called gingivitis.
    1. Over time, infection and in ammation in the gums can spread to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth. The gums start to pull away, forming gaps or pockets between your teeth and allowing more plaque to accumulate. This disease is called periodontitis.
    2. Pockets of bacteria can form and deepen beneath your gums, attacking and destroying the bone that anchors your teeth in place. This can cause healthy teeth to loosen or eventually fall out. This disease is called advanced periodontitis.

    American Association of Orthodontists

See more from::