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.
Schedule an orthodontic consultation at Sherman Oaks, CA orthodontic practice – Mehdi Fotovat, DDS
You may not even realize it, but it’s possible that you are grinding your teeth during the day and especially while sleeping at night. Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is often a subconscious behavior which places unusual force on your teeth and jaw. It is smart to know the signs to help you recognize if you are grinding your teeth, and what to do if you do have symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
Some people may experience only one or two symptoms, and others may encounter many problems from teeth grinding. Some common signs include:
• Sore jaw or facial muscles
• Muscle tightness or pain in the morning after sleeping
• Stiff or painful shoulders
• Clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth
• Difficulty opening or moving your jaw
What are the consequences?
Teeth grinding can have both short and long-term effects on your health. If you begin to experience symptoms and ignore them, the likelihood of long-term consequences rises. Your teeth may become worn down and crack, which may require more complex and costly dental treatments in the future. Also, your teeth can become overly sensitive because of nerve endings becoming exposed through wear. Pain is another outcome of teeth grinding, and sometimes temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder develops.
Is there treatment for it?
Visit your dentist if you notice symptoms, and you may be able to determine together what is causing your bruxism. This bad habit is often linked to anxiety, so limiting stress in your life as much as possible may help. If teeth grinding continues, your dentist may suggest you wear a mouth guard that helps prevent grinding movements. Counseling, physical therapy, and muscle relaxants are sometimes also recommended.
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