Good oral hygiene is essential for our overall health, but it’s even more critical after having orthodontic treatments. While appliances used during treatment like metal braces or Invisalign aligners can help correct misaligned teeth, they have countless tiny spaces to trap food easily but are a little bit harder to clean. The trapped food causes plaque, which in turn leads to oral health problems or unsightly staining on your teeth. Here’s how to maintain oral hygiene during dental treatments:
- Brush Carefully but Thoroughly
First, take off any removable parts like headgear or rubber bands to clean them separately. Then use a toothbrush with soft bristles, preferably an orthodontic toothbrush, to avoid harming your braces. Clean each tooth individually while tilting the brush as needed to clean around wires, pins, and those hard-to-reach areas. Take as much time as possible so as to remove all food debris and remember to gently brush your gum line and tongue as well. Rinse your mouth with water to remove any loose food particles. This should be done after every meal.
- Floss Daily
Although flossing during orthodontic treatments is a bit harder, it’s an oral care step that shouldn’t be ignored. It helps to remove any food particles stuck in your orthodontic appliances or in-between your teeth. If you are finding it a bit tricky to floss using flossing tape, consider using special products like floss threaders, interdental brushes, or oral irrigator. Remember to also floss between the wires and gum line. Rinse thoroughly after flossing to remove any loose food debris.
- Watch What You Eat
Your alveolar bones, teeth, and gums will require high levels of nutrients during dental treatments. This means controlling your diet and avoiding any foods that may increase your risk of developing tooth decay. Start by cutting down or completely eliminating sugary and starchy foods such as sweets, soda, ice cream, etc. You’ll also be required to avoid foods that could damage your orthodontic appliances. This includes anything chewy, crunchy, sticky, or hard. Even healthy foods like carrots can be problematic due to their hard texture. Cut them into small, bite-size pieces. Dental orthodontists are the right people to give you a full list of all the foods you should avoid. Also, chewing on pencils or your nails can cause damage to your braces.
- Professional Care
Dental orthodontists and dentists are experts in oral health. During treatment, your orthodontist will give you clear instructions on how to take care of your orthodontic appliances. You’ll also need to visit your orthodontist for regular follow-ups. It’s also important to make regular visits to your dentist for cleanings, exams, and preventive care. Following these experts’ instructions to the letter will help optimize the results of your dental treatments.
- Protect Your Invisalign
Getting a mouth guard for your orthodontic devices may seem a bit expensive, but it will protect your teeth and soft tissues against damage that may be caused by certain activities such as involuntary tooth grinding or playing a sport.
- Use Mouthwash
Using a mouthwash with fluoride to rinse your mouth daily will help kill any bacteria missed during brushing and flossing.
Undergoing orthodontic treatments will require patients to pay a bit more attention to their oral health. These oral care tips will help to avoid any complications, as well as give you great-looking teeth and that beautiful, healthy smile you’ve invested time and money in.