Successful orthodontic treatment and a healthy, beautiful smile is the result of a team effort involving you, your orthodontist and your family dentist. You, as the patient, play the key role. Most importantly, you must keep your teeth clean and maintain good dental hygiene between appointments and while you’re wearing braces. Proper dental care will take a little extra time and effort, but it’s well worth it, and will help you enjoy the best possible results from your orthodontic treatment. Closely follow the instructions your orthodontist and staff members give you.
How to Brush?
How to Floss?
Other Hygiene Helpers
Your orthodontist or dentist may recommend one or more of these aids to help keep your teeth clean:
This tool slips under your archwire to more completely remove plaque and food particles near your brackets.
Power Toothbrush or Water Irrigator
These devices, such as the Sonicare toothbrush, are designed to make brushing easier and more efficient.
Prescription Fluoride Toothpaste or Fluoride Rinse
If prescribed by your orthodontist, use once a day as part of your cleaning routine. For the best results, use with your interproximal brush to deliver maximum fluoride protection to your teeth.
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 and form an acid that can eat away the enamel on your teeth, leading to white marks, cavities or gum disease.
Plaque is the Enemy
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that collects on your teeth. It’s composed of bacteria, food and saliva. If plaque and trapped food are left on your teeth and around your braces, they can cause swollen gums, bad breath, cavities and permanent marks on your teeth.
When to Clean?
Brush thoroughly after each time you have a meal or a snack. If you can’t brush right away, 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, brush your teeth and braces thoroughly until they are spotlessly clean, and then floss. This takes a little extra time, so you may want to do it at night before going to bed.