Do you have a complicated relationship with braces? Many of our patients here at Gleason Orthodontics don’t love their appliance but trust that treatment will be worth it in the end. If this sounds like you, we’ve got an important message: don’t let your mixed feelings get in the way of taking care of your smile! While our expert team will handle most of the hard work involved in straightening your teeth, you have a role to play in how successful treatment is, too. A big part of that is maintaining a good oral hygiene routine throughout the orthodontic process. Let’s look at why this is essential and how you can make it happen!
Why is it necessary to care for your teeth and gums during treatment?
We should all strive for healthy teeth and gums, whether we’re orthodontic patients or not. It’s essential for those in braces, though. That’s because the brackets, wires, and bands make it easy for food debris and bacteria to become trapped between your braces and teeth. If you don’t keep on top of your oral hygiene, these areas can become a breeding ground for bacteria! This increases your risk for cavities and tooth decay, both of which can impact the progress you’re making and possibly increase your treatment time.
Brushing and flossing will keep your teeth and braces in good shape, ensuring your treatment plan stays on track. These simple steps will help prevent any starts and stops in treatment due to unexpected dental work and stop plaque and bacteria causing discoloration. When your whole mouth is healthy, it will allow Dr. Gleason to achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time possible! Here are some of our favorite tips for taking care of your smile as a braces patient.
Did you know that plaque can form on your teeth and start causing problems within 48 hours? Don’t give it the chance to settle in! We recommend that all of our braces patients brush once in the morning, again after every meal, and once more before bed. If you aren’t able to brush right away after eating, try rinsing your mouth thoroughly with water instead to help flush out any lingering food particles. As mentioned above, getting into all the spaces braces create is often tricky! Dental tools like interdental brushes can help simplify the process and make your technique more effective. For the best results, brush for at least two minutes each time.
Use effective techniques for brushing and flossing
Most patients find that their usual brushing technique requires a little refinement after braces have been placed. It can take a bit of time to find the best way to navigate around the brackets and wires to ensure teeth are squeaky clean. No matter how long you’ve had your braces, these basic recommendations can help you make the most of your brushing routine!
- Hold the toothbrush against the front sides of your teeth. Move the toothbrush in small circular motions. Try to follow the regular curve of the gums and teeth as you go from tooth to tooth.
- Brush each tooth for several seconds, carefully and slowly. Make sure all food particles are reached and removed along the gum line, between the braces, and on the surface of each tooth.
- Brush the biting surfaces of the teeth, the back sides of the teeth, and behind the molars. Don’t forget to brush the roof of your mouth and tongue before rinsing!
- To properly clean the brackets, angle the brush head against them, and remember to brush thoroughly under the wires as well.
During treatment, you’ll have to floss between your teeth and under the archwire of your braces. Floss threaders are a great way to make this easier! This reusable tool has a stiff end that allows you to floss between the brackets and under the archwire more easily. Try following these simple steps to ensure you’re flossing your teeth correctly.
- Slide a piece of floss about 18 inches long under the wire, above the space between the two teeth. Insert the floss halfway through, then hold both ends of the floss.
- Carefully slide the floss up and down a few times between the teeth. When the tooth is clean, you’ll be able to hear a slight squeaking sound.
- Floss the gum line with the floss in the shape of a “C” and below the gum line with a soft up and down motion. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when flossing around the archwire.
- Gently remove the floss, thread it under the next wire, and repeat the steps above.
- You may want to try a water flosser when you’re done to get your teeth and gums extra clean.
Remember to be patient as you get used to a new oral hygiene routine. It may take a while to get through this process initially, but you’ll get the hang of it before long!
Try adding mouthwash to the mix
Mouthwash can be a valuable tool in your oral health arsenal. It’s able to reach the areas of your mouth that a toothbrush and floss have trouble with, like the gums and other soft tissues. Adding mouthwash into your daily routine will give you fresher breath and make brushing and flossing more effective. It also offers greater plaque prevention and a reduced risk of cavities. If you’ve had issues with gingivitis, periodontal disease, or a chronically dry mouth, mouthwash could be even more beneficial!
You should choose a mouthwash based on your specific needs. Cosmetic rinses can temporarily improve your breath and create a pleasant taste in your mouth, but they won’t kill the bacteria that cause bad breath in the first place. Therapeutic mouthwashes do have an impact on oral bacteria and introduce healthy nutrients into the mouth. If you’re not sure where to begin, ask us about mouthwashes designed for use with braces at your next appointment!
Give your smile some TLC with care from Gleason Orthodontics
There’s a link between good oral health and achieving a straighter smile. When you take care of your mouth during treatment, it makes it easier for us to improve the look and function of your bite!
If you have any questions or concerns about dental hygiene during treatment, our team is always happy to help. For more tips on maintaining a healthy smile throughout the orthodontic process, get in touch to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with our Webster office!