Doing your part
You, your family dentist, and Dr. McGrory will have to work together as a team in order to achieve that healthy and beautiful smile you deserve!
As the patient, you play the key part. It’s up to you to make sure that your treatment is successful. Most importantly, you must keep your teeth clean and maintain good dental hygiene while you’re wearing braces.
If you fail to spend a little extra time caring for your braces, you may end up with white spots on your teeth once the braces are removed. This is an unsightly condition that no one wants.
Proper dental care will take a little extra time and effort, but the results are well worth it. It will help you enjoy the best possible smile from your orthodontic treatment.
How to brush with braces
Brush thoroughly each time you have a meal or snack. If you can’t brush right away after a meal, be sure to at least rinse your mouth well with water until you can brush. Carry a travel toothbrush so that you can brush when you aren’t home. Keep these tips in mind when brushing your teeth with braces:
- Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush that’s in good condition. Braces wear out a toothbrush quickly, replace your brush as soon as it shows signs of wear.
- Brush around all the parts of your braces and every surface of your teeth – fronts, sides and backs. Be sure to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth. A good way to tell if you’re brushing correctly is if your braces look clean and shiny, and you can see the edges of the brackets clearly.
- Brush your gums gently and thoroughly.
- Rinse thoroughly after brushing.
- Inspect your teeth and braces carefully to make sure they are spotless. Look closely in a well-lit mirror. This is a good time to check for loose or broken brackets. If you find a problem, contact Lake Jackson Orthodontics to see if it needs to be checked out and if we need to schedule a time to make a repair.
How to floss with braces
Our helpful Lake Jackson orthodontic team will help you learn proper flossing techniques when you choose us for your orthodontic care. At least once every day, brush your teeth and braces thoroughly until they are spotlessly clean, and then floss. This takes a little extra time, so you may want to do it at night before going to bed. These tips for flossing with braces will make the process smoother for you, and you’ll be a pro in no time.
- Floss every night before you go to bed. That way, you won’t feel rushed.
- When flossing with braces on, it might be necessary to use what’s called a floss threader. This reusable tool allows you to get dental floss underneath your archwire easily.
- Make sure you clean carefully along and under the gumlines.
- Flossing with braces may seem like a difficult process, but it’s very important. As with anything, a little practice will make it go a lot faster.
Side effects of poor oral hygiene
Good dental hygiene is critical during orthodontic treatment. Without it, plaque and food can accumulate around your braces. Periodontal disease, caused by the buildup of plaque, occurs in three stages. In the first stage, plaque accumulation irritates the gums. Your gums may be puffy or swollen. They may bleed when you brush or floss. This is called gingivitis. Over time, the buildup of plaque may harden into a substance called tartar. As tartar accumulates, gaps or pockets may form between your gums and teeth. Even more tartar can be collected in these pockets. This is called periodontitis. Pockets of bacteria form and deepen beneath your gums, attacking and destroying the bone that anchors your teeth. This can even cause healthy teeth to loosen or eventually fall out. This is called advanced periodontitis.
Early gum disease is reversible with professional help and good home care, but if you ignore it, it can get worse. Gum disease is usually painless, so you need to pay attention to signs like bleeding or swollen and puffy gums. Carefully follow the hygiene advice and directions of Dr. McGrory and our team to avoid these problems.
Other hygiene helpers
In addition to the regular dental hygiene tools we are familiar with like toothbrushes and floss, there are a few products we can recommend that make brushing teeth with braces a little easier to manage.