How to Maintain Your Oral Health While Wearing Braces

When a patient is receiving orthodontic treatment with braces, their oral health care becomes even more important than it normally is. It is so important that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that patients with braces should see their primary care dentist three to four times per year to ensure that the teeth are well cleaned. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your Melbourne orthodontist any questions you may have when it comes to teeth cleaning. Here at Melbourne Orthodontics, we are just as invested in the success of your treatment with braces as you are!

Why Oral Care is so Important with Braces

Tooth brushing and flossing becomes more difficult once a person has braces installed. There are many more tiny spaces where food can become trapped. If bits of food remain on the teeth, that’s when bacteria in the mouth start to form plaque, which can quickly result in tooth damage in the form of loss minerals in the enamel (decalcification). That in turn can lead to additional problems, including tooth staining and dental caries (cavities).

This is why diligent brushing needs to happen after every meal, including snacks. Patients with braces need to floss at least once a day as well. It’s not like being treated with Invisalign in Melbourne, where the appliance can be removed after each meal for easy brushing and flossing. You have to make a conscious effort to brush in and around the teeth more diligently.

More Than Just Correcting Your Smile

The cosmetic benefits of treatment with braces are certainly important. Everyone wants to have a perfect and straight smile to share with the world. But your braces (or your child’s braces) will also correct misaligned teeth, or teeth that are too crowded in the jawbone. Poorly positioned teeth lead to malocclusion, which is also known as a misaligned bite. It’s more difficult to remove plaque around misaligned teeth, and that can lead to cavities, gum infection and other problems.

Taking good care of your braces and your teeth during this process helps to ensure the best and fastest outcome. If cavities develop, if the braces become damaged, or if another problem arises, it can result in imperfect outcomes. You might even end up requiring additional treatment time, or a second round of treatment later on, if you do not remain committed to oral health care while wearing braces.

Brushing and Flossing with Braces

Brushing and flossing requires more time and care when you have braces. Follow these steps for the best success.

  1. Start by getting prepared to brush your teeth. If your orthodontic appliance has any removable parts, such as elastics, take those off before starting. 
  2. Clean your braces with your brush first. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush the brackets, the arch wires, and other parts. Focus on getting underneath the wire as this is one of the areas that is most difficult to get to.  
  3. Next, brush your teeth. Focus on each tooth individually. Start at the gumline and brush the teeth above the braces, then do the bottoms of the teeth and the backs of the teeth. Use an interdental brush to clean any really hard-to-reach spots between the teeth and the wire. There should be extra focus on the gumline.  This is the area that is neglected the most and almost all damage during treatment occurs between the brackets and the gums.

Flossing should be carried out at least once per day, preferably after the last meal of the day before bed. Our staff at Melbourne Orthodontics will go over the flossing procedure with you, and we’ll recommend the best products to use, like a floss threader. This is a handy tool for children who have trouble flossing around and under their braces. Floss between each tooth.

Once you’re done brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth out with mouthwash or water. Fluoride rinse like the ACT brand can be helpful to keep the enamel strong.  Take a look at your teeth in the mirror and visually inspect them. Sometimes you can spot bits of food that you missed while brushing or flossing. A Water Pik can be a helpful tool to add to your daily regimen of oral care too.

Call an Orthodontist in Melbourne for Braces

If you think that you or your child is a good candidate for braces, Contact Us at Melbourne Orthodontics to schedule an appointment.