Long Beach, CA – During your orthodontic treatment, your braces or Invisalign aligners are hard at work gently guiding your teeth to their new locations. While they are working hard, you also have to work hard – brushing and flossing while in braces can be a bit more challenging, but it is especially important to stay vigilant about your oral care while in orthodontic treatment.
Make your toothbrush your new best friend.
We say it a lot, but during your orthodontic treatment, you should never be too far away from your toothbrush. You’ll want to brush thoroughly after every meal. If you wear traditional braces, there are a lot of places where food particles can hide. The food particles mingle with the bacteria that is naturally found in our mouths, and together they form plaque that can attack our teeth. The longer the plaque sits on the teeth, it can begin decalcifying the teeth which results in permanent white scars on the teeth and can eventually lead to decay.
Even if you have chosen Invisalign as your treatment option, it is still crucial to brush after meals. You’ll remove your aligners to eat, but if you place them back in without brushing first, your aligners are just trapping any remaining food particles directly on the teeth.
Enlist extra brushing help.
If you have brackets and wires on your teeth, it will be a bit tricker to adequately clean around the brackets and under the wires. An interdental toothbrush (proxibrush) is designed to get into those hard to reach places to help remove any remaining particles. You can also add a WaterPik for further assistance.
Don’t forget to floss.
If you choose Invisalign, flossing will be a breeze – just remove the aligners and floss normally. But if you have brackets and wires, you may need the assistance of a floss threader to help get the floss underneath your wire. Flossing helps ensure that nothing is left in between the teeth that could lead to tooth decay.
Rinse your mouth.
After meals, always rinse your mouth with water to help wash away remaining particles. You can also use a fluoride mouthrinse which in addition to washing away every tiny bit of food, it will provide added protection against decay. If you don’t have time to brush and don’t have mouthwash with you, rinsing with water should be done at the very least.
Maintain your regular check-ups.
If you experience decay or other dental issues during your treatment, it may set your treatment time back. It is important to visit your dentist every six months, even during orthodontic treatment, to ensure your smile is as healthy as possible.
Eat a healthy diet.
What you eat not only determines your overall health, but the health of your teeth as well. It’s important to avoid food that can damage your braces, but it is also important to avoid food that is bad for your teeth. Excessive sugar, acidic foods, starchy foods, and sodas are all examples of food types that can be damaging to your smile. Eat fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and other healthy choices to keep your teeth healthy.
If you ever have questions or concerns about the health of your smile while undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is important to discuss them with your orthodontist right away. Your orthodontist will work with you to develop healthy habits and routines to keep your smile healthy so your treatment stays on track.