Oral care throughout orthodontic treatment Orthodontic treatment is an important investment in your future. Everyone helping with your orthodontic care wants you to have the best results possible. While you are wearing braces, it is essential that you take care of your teeth and gums. This article explains why and how.
More care needed during orthodontics
Have a look in the mirror at your new braces. As you see, the brackets and wires have many nooks and crannies that can trap food and plaque. This means your risk of tooth decay and gum problems may be higher while you are wearing braces.You need to pay special attention to cleaning your teeth every day and to your diet. Permanent damage to tooth enamel can occur if the teeth and brackets are not kept clean.
Dental professionals are increasingly concerned about acidic foods and drinks that can damage tooth enamel when consumed frequently or when sipped over extended periods of time. Examples of acidic foods include apples, cherries, pickles, soft drinks, BBQ sauces, salsas, and vinaigrette dressings. While many high-acid foods are healthy for your body, low-acid foods are better for your teeth. Remember – during orthodontic treatment, it’s best to choose low-acid foods when you sit down to eat.
Braces-friendly diet & habits
There are foods that can loosen, break or bend wires and bands when you are wearing braces. Avoid hard foods such as nuts and hard cookies. Foods such as apples and carrots should be chopped into small pieces before eating to reduce the stress on your braces. Avoid sticky foods such as caramels, toffees, muesli or fruit bars. No chewing gum! No chewing ice! Habits such as nail biting, unnatural tongue thrusting, pencil chewing and nervous picking at your wires can also break braces. Be aware of these and make an effort to stop them. Remember that damaged braces mean extra appointments, inconvenience and extended treatment time. If you do break your braces, be sure to make an appointment with your orthodontist immediately. Broken braces are not correcting your teeth!
Care at home
When cleaning your mouth while you are wearing braces, you need to pay special attention not only to your teeth and gums, but also to the brackets and wires.
Here are four simple steps for keeping your teeth, gums and braces in great shape:
1. Spend about 10 seconds on each tooth before moving on to the next tooth, brushing in a set pattern so that you don’t miss any teeth.
2. Brush both the inside and the outside surfaces of your teeth using a gentle circular motion on each tooth.
3. For the chewing surfaces, use a firm back and forth motion.
4. Pay special attention to brushing at the gum line, that is where food/plaque tends to hide causing red, swollen gums and white lines on the teeth.
Fluoride and oral care products
Fluoride protection against tooth decay is needed throughout life. However, while you are wearing braces, it is much harder to keep your teeth clean. This can result in higher than normal amounts of plaque accumulation, which can cause cavities.
Using fluoride toothpaste after each meal or at least twice a day is one of the most proven ways to help you stay decay free. Fluoride makes teeth more
resistant to the acids produced after eating or drinking and replaces minerals that are lost in the early stages of tooth decay.
Your orthodontist or hygienist may recommend using special cleaning aids such as interdental brushes or floss threaders – yes, you can and should floss while wearing braces! Ask your orthodontist or hygienist to show you. You can use ACT, an over the counter fluoride rinse or your orthodontist can prescribe you prescription fluoride depending on your situation.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Olcay, call 732-847-3065 or visit www.holmdelortho.com.