Brushing and flossing are important components of protecting your dental health. When you have braces, however, good oral hygiene becomes even more critical. If you don’t take good care of your teeth while wearing braces, you can develop issues like plaque, gum disease, and bad breath.
Because braces cover your teeth and remain in your mouth, food can get trapped in between teeth. This situation creates an optimal environment for plaque, the sticky film that coats your mouth and teeth. If patients don’t remove plaque from around braces, this substance can harden in to tartar, which leads to oral health problems.
Consider the following suggestions to help protect your teeth or your child’s teeth during orthodontic treatment:
Select a soft-bristle toothbrush. If you like, look for toothbrushes specially designed for people with braces; these products have longer bristles on the outside and shorter ones in the center. Plan to brush three times a day, especially after meals, which will prevent food from staying trapped between brackets. Time yourself so that you brush for at least two minutes.
Although flossing can be more difficult with braces, patients need to make the extra effort. Your orthodontist can recommend special products that will help you thread the floss under the wires. Ask your orthodontist if you aren’t sure about the right technique.
General Dental Care
For patients with braces, many orthodontists and dentists recommend more frequent visits to the family dentist. An extra cleaning can help remove any build up and allow your regular dentist to monitor your oral health. Your doctor may recommend a fluoride rinse for added protection.