The Importance Of Oral Hygiene During Your Orthodontic Treatment

Maintaining good oral hygiene is important no matter if you are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment or not. Making sufficient oral care a regular part of your routine throughout your lifetime is critical to maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.

But, during orthodontic treatment, keeping up with good oral hygiene is more important than ever. Your teeth are being moved into the desired position and you’ll want to protect that investment in a healthy, beautiful smile. With braces, the brackets and wires on your teeth can make it a little harder to effectively keep your teeth and gums clean. Creating smaller, tighter spaces to clean between. But the extra effort is worth it.

Why Good Oral Care Is Critical With Braces & Similar Orthodontic Appliances

The tight spaces between the brackets, wires, and other appliances on your teeth create a perfect opportunity for food particles and plaque to become trapped. Left too long, this can quickly lead to bacteria growth and plaque buildup.

Plaque is the number one enemy when it comes to oral health. When food particles start to create bacteria, the plaque that starts to form is a thin coating of microorganisms (also known as biofilm). The bacteria in this plaque biofilm feed on sugars that enter your mouth and produce acids that wreak havoc on your teeth and gums.

That is why daily oral care habits, specifically the oral hygiene instructions you receive from your orthodontist, are critical. Not only for maintaining good oral health but also achieving the best results when it’s time for your braces to come off..

What Can Happen Due To Poor Oral Hygiene During Your Treatment

As you can see, it is so important to be diligent and effectively clean your teeth and gums daily. Even in the tight spaces between your braces’ brackets, wires, and other appliances. The last thing you want to do is allow plaque to build up for too long. An abundance of plaque and bacteria buildup can cause:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gingivitis (and other gum problems).
  • Infection
  • Cavities
  • Bad breath

The acid caused by bacteria and plaque buildup on your teeth can also mean an issue with staining and permanent damage to the teeth enamel. The areas of your teeth around where the braces brackets are can become stained while the area underneath the brackets can become decalcified. This means unsightly white spots where the brackets were when it is time for your braces to come off. If this happens, you’ll be looking at additional dental treatments to try and correct this and an extended treatment plan.

Make sufficient brushing, flossing, and teeth and appliance cleaning a regular part of your daily routine during your orthodontic treatment to help avoid future problems.

Fluoride: The Oral Hygiene Powerhouse

When you hear the word fluoride, you might think it is something reserved only for use by dentists. But, you can take advantage of this oral hygiene powerhouse at home yourself to help give you added protection while going through orthodontic treatment.

One of the most proven ways to stay plaque and decay-free is to use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash twice a day. According to studies, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is more effective in tooth decay prevention than brushing only once a day. The best times to brush and use a mouthwash are in the morning and at bedtime.

Fluoride actually helps make teeth more resilient to acids produced after drinking or eating. It also helps replace minerals lost in the early stages of tooth decay.

Effective Oral Hygiene During Orthodontic Treatment Is A Team Effort

The best plan of attack to maintain good oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment is a team effort. Make sure to pay attention to the oral hygiene instructions provided by your orthodontist. Ask questions to ensure you understand how to use the effective tools to help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.

Your regular dentist is also an important part of your oral hygiene and orthodontic treatment plan. Make sure to continue regular dental checkups with your dentist to help make sure your teeth stay healthy. They will perform preventative care and address any problems early before they have a chance to become big problems.

Finally, as you can see, it is your responsibility to be proactive in your oral hygiene at home. Make sure to take advantage of specially designed tools (like interdental toothbrushes, Spin brushes, and floss threaders) to make oral hygiene with braces a little easier.

Check out our detailed tips on good oral care and oral hygiene instructions for braces here.

Here at Cook & Gutsche Orthodontics, we can help make sure you get the best results from your orthodontic treatment all while maintaining good oral health. If you have any questions about maintaining good oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment don’t hesitate to contact us!