Braces, retainers, and other orthodontic appliances are there to help you, but they do put you at risk for various oral health issues. That’s why, in addition to brushing properly, it’s important to use both mouthwash and floss. Orthodontic braces treatment will only be successful if you follow these oral hygiene practices.
Oral hygiene with braces is important because gingivitis, or gum disease, can occur. If too much plaque builds up, your gums will become irritated and infected. Decalcification of tooth enamel is another possibility. Plaque builds up when you eat, while acids produced by eating and drinking also help to decalcify tooth enamel, leaving white spots on teeth. Brushing your teeth is important but is not enough.
A mouth rinse after you brush and floss is a good idea. There are many over-the-counter and prescription products. These can reduce irritation caused by your orthodontic treatment and can alleviate gum inflammation. A good mouthwash can remove biofilm. If it contains fluoride, even better, but don’t rinse immediately after brushing because that will eliminate the concentrated fluoride in toothpaste before it has a chance to work.
After a fluoride rinse, wait 30 minutes to eat or drink. Also, it helps to choose a different time to use a mouthwash. Wait until after lunch or a time it’s easy to remember. There are also different kinds, including desensitizing, cosmetic, whitening, and anti-plaque mouthwash, depending on your needs.
Dental floss helps remove plaque and food between teeth. Regular flossing has other benefits as well, such as reducing bad breath and gum disease. If you have braces, flossing may be a challenge.
- Floss before you brush your teeth.
- Use waxed floss that won’t catch and shred.
- Take about 18 inches of dental floss.
- Thread it under the wire and pass it between your teeth.
- Gently move up and down, remove it, and repeat with the next pair of teeth.
- Use about 8-10 up and down strokes between each tooth.
Getting the floss under the wire can be tough. A floss threader can make this much easier. Ask your orthodontist for other options that can make flossing with braces simpler.
For the best results, floss before brushing. The debris you remove may still be on or near your teeth and gums. Brushing will remove it.
Get the Most Out of Your Orthodontic Care
Your orthodontic services professional may also recommend other techniques. A manual toothbrush may do fine, but remember to brush around every bracket and any other piece of hardware. Another option is a sonic toothbrush, but it should be used along with flossing to make sure all the plaque is removed. When brushing, remove bands and elastics and clean round all brackets and wires, moving from top to bottom. Make sure you reach every part of each tooth.
At Labbe Family Orthodontics, everyone is treated like family. With us, you have a local orthodontist specializing in all types of orthodontic services in Annapolis, Gambrills, Bowie, and Greenbelt, Maryland. Call us at 410-267-7300 today to schedule an appointment.