Doing your part
To get the healthy and beautiful smile that you want, you, your family dentist, and Dr. Danielle Periago will have to work together as a team.
As the patient, you play the key part. It’s up to you to make sure that your treatment is successful. Most importantly, you must keep your teeth clean and maintain good dental hygiene while you’re wearing braces.
You’ll need to take especially good care of your teeth during orthodontic treatment. By brushing and flossing regularly, you’ll keep your teeth and gums at their best and ensure that your orthodontic treatment will deliver the healthiest 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!
Brushing with braces
Brush thoroughly each time you have a 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 you aren’t home.
Keep these tips in mind when brushing your teeth with braces:
- Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush that’s in good condition. Because braces wear out a toothbrush quickly, replace your brush as soon as it shows signs of wear.
- Brush around all the parts of your braces and every surface of your teeth – fronts, sides, and backs. Be sure to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth. 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.
- Inspect your teeth and braces 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 find a problem, contact us!
Flossing with braces
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. Our helpful Corydon, Floyds and New Albany orthodontist staff will help you learn proper flossing techniques when you choose us for your orthodontic care. These tips for flossing with braces will make the process smoother for you, and you’ll be a pro in no time.
- Floss every night before you go to bed. That way, you won’t feel rushed.
- When flossing with braces on, it might be necessary to use what’s called a floss threader. This reusable tool allows you to get dental floss underneath your archwire easily.
- Make sure you clean carefully along and under the gumlines.
- Flossing with braces on may seem like a difficult process, but it’s very important. And as with anything, a little practice will make it go a lot faster.
Problems caused by poor oral hygiene
Maintain good dental hygiene while having orthodontic treatment to prevent food particles and plaque buildup around braces. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that collects on your teeth. It’s made of bacteria, food, and saliva. If you let plaque and trapped food stay on your and around your braces, they can cause swollen gums, bad breath, cavities, and permanent marks on your teeth. As your Corydon, Floyds Knobs and New Albany orthodontist, we advise brushing your teeth regularly to remove this plaque. We teach all of our patients the correct way to brush and floss while wearing braces to make sure you remove all plaque on a regular basis.
Bacteria in plaque react with sugars in food and form acid that can damage tooth enamel, leading to discoloration, cavities or gum disease. Plaque accumulation may also result in permanent teeth stains or periodontal disease that occur in three stages: gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. Early gum disease can be reversed with professional help and good home care. Signs of gum disease include swollen, puffy gums or bleeding when brushing or flossing.
Follow Dr. Periago’s hygiene instructions to avoid these problems.
Other hygiene helpers
In addition to the regular dental hygiene tools we are familiar with like toothbrushes and floss, there are a few products we can recommend that make brushing teeth with braces a little easier to manage.