Braces and Oral Health: How to Keep Your Smile Healthy During Treatment

Imagine working with a Melbourne orthodontist for 18 months until your braces finally come off–only to discover that your teeth are stained or you have cavities or gum disease. That’s the risk of not keeping your smile healthy during treatment. The goal should be to have your pearly whites still be straight and white when the braces come off. Most of the responsibility for a patient’s oral health lies in their own hands or their parents if they supervise a child with braces. Here’s a closer look at the work required to keep your smile healthy during treatment.

Daily Teeth Cleaning Routine with Braces

Brushing your teeth daily is one of your primary responsibilities as a patient with braces. You should thoroughly brush your teeth two to three times daily. This should happen after breakfast, before school or work, and before bed at night. It’s even better if you can brush your teeth after every meal.

Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Brush every tooth and every surface you can reach. This is challenging because the braces are in the way, but it’s necessary. You’ll also want to use an interdental brush to help clean between the teeth and around the braces. Floss between the teeth and behind the braces as well. Use a floss threader if necessary.

Rinsing with fluoride mouthwash at least once a day is also helpful. Try to do this between meals rather than right after you’ve brushed and flossed. 

But Are Your Teeth Clean?

A 2020 study published in the Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene revealed some exciting perceptions about how patients with braces think they’re doing—hundreds of patients filled out a questionnaire about their teeth-cleaning habits. More than 79 percent of respondents believed that their oral hygiene was good. However, 51 percent of respondents reported that their gums were bleeding while brushing their teeth.

The reason for bleeding gums is typically plaque that is missed along the gum line while brushing. Even though patients brushed their teeth twice or thrice daily and thought their dental hygiene was excellent, they were still at risk of gum disease. They weren’t brushing their teeth long enough or thoroughly enough.

Side Effects of Poor Oral Health During Braces Treatment

If the gums turn red, puffy, or bleed when you brush your teeth, you’re missing plaque in hard-to-reach places. Patients with braces are especially prone to developing cavities or tooth decay if they slack off in their daily cleaning routine. Bad breath can be another sign that you’re not brushing thoroughly enough. Tooth decay marks can also blemish the teeth’ surface, leading to a disappointing result after all the effort of straightening your teeth with braces.

Oral Health and Sports

Most patients who undergo treatment with braces are teenagers, although adults can certainly correct their teeth with them as well. Kids are often active in sports during their school years, which creates an added risk for them. A collision on the basketball court or the soccer field could result in a severe injury to a patient with braces. Talk to your orthodontist about a custom-made sports mouthguard if you plan to participate in sports.

Don’t Miss Appointments with Your Dentist

Your general dentist is the expert in early tooth decay or gum disease detection. Even though your teeth are straightened with braces, you will still want to keep regular appointments with your dentist. Orthodontists and dentists are different specialists, but we work together as part of your oral healthcare team to ensure the best outcome. 

Interested in Braces? Call Reddick Orthodontics

If you’re looking for an orthodontist in Melbourne, FL, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at our office to schedule an appointment if you’re considering braces or Invisalign treatment.