Oral healthcare can be intimidating when you are an orthodontic patient. Changing your oral hygiene routine can be annoying, and knowing what to change can be confusing. But it doesn’t have to be!
Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates can guide you through your treatment and help you maintain your oral health. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips for oral health during orthodontic treatment. Let’s check them out!
Attend Your Dental Appointments!
An easy thing to do to look after your oral health isn’t something you have to do every day. In fact, most people only need to do it once or twice a year! It’s attending your dental checkups!
At these appointments, a dental hygienist will photograph and X-ray your mouth and professionally clean and apply fluoride to your teeth. Afterward, your dentist will thoroughly and carefully examine your teeth and gums. They will look for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, infection, oral cancer, and other complications. If they find something, they will set up a treatment plan or refer you to a specialist.
Attending these appointments is crucial to your oral health, even if you feel like everything is fine because sometimes problems lurk below the surface or have no symptoms.
Invest In Good Oral Hygiene Tools.
Brushing and flossing four times a day should be a part of your daily routine during treatment! When performing your oral hygiene routine, the tools you use can make all the difference! Let’s look at some tools we recommend for all our orthodontic patients.
- We suggest an automatic toothbrush with a timer and pressure sensor. The timer and pressure sensor prevent overbrushing (brushing too long or with too much force), which can strip the enamel off the teeth and push down the gum line. The timer also prevents under-brushing (not brushing long enough), which can leave behind bacteria and plaque that can eat away at the gum line.
- We highly recommend our patients invest in a water flosser. A water flosser is a machine that uses jets of water to rid the mouth of stubborn residue that could be left behind by traditional brushing and flossing. They are also perfect for cleaning all the hard-to-reach places created by overcrowding or bonded appliances.
- An interproximal brush is a small brush that can fit between the teeth and between the brackets of your braces. It is excellent for when you are on the go and can’t use a water flosser or don’t have time to floss.
*The water flosser and interproximal brush should be used in addition to waxed flossing, though if you have difficulty using thread floss, they could be a replacement. Ask Dr. Giarrusso, Dr. Livanos, or your dentist before removing thread floss from your routine.
Choose Your Products Wisely.
The toothpaste and mouthwash you use are just as important as your tools! While which specific product is best for you depends on your needs, goals, and lifestyle, we advise all of our orthodontic patients to check their products for the following three things:
- Harsh Ingredients — Toothpaste and mouthwash with strong acidic ingredients can rust your metal appliances or cause discoloration on your ceramic braces and clear aligners.
- Fluoride — Fluoride is a naturally made chemical already in your body. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel and protect the teeth against decay and other threats. How much fluoride a person needs varies, so ask one of our orthodontists before incorporating it into your daily routine.
- Whitening Agents — When you imagine your perfect smile, it probably has perfect pearly whites. And we would love to help you achieve that spotless white aesthetic — after treatment ends! You see, if you have bonded appliances, the whitening agent can only access some parts of your teeth. That means your teeth will be different colors when your appliances are removed! It can be time-consuming and frustrating to return the teeth to all one color, so we strongly suggest waiting until your orthodontic journey comes to an end before using any whitening products. If you wear clear aligners, ask Dr. Giarrusso or Dr. Livanos before using whitening products.
Clean Your Clear Aligners.
Even though you remove your clear aligners for eating, drinking, and performing oral hygiene, they still need to be cleaned once or twice a day.
Unclean trays can have the same harmful bacteria and plaque as your teeth and gums. If you don’t clean your aligners, you just pass those germs between your mouth and the trays. Dirty trays also lose their transparency, making them more noticeable to others when you wear them.
If you go long enough without cleaning your clear aligners, they will also develop a foul taste and smell that is unpleasant or inviting to wear for twenty-two hours a day.
Taking a few minutes a day to clean your trays is a quick and simple way to maintain oral health during orthodontic treatment.
Visit Us At Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates For Personalized Recommendations.
Our Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates team can make your orthodontic experience as comfortable and safe as possible without sacrificing efficiency or results.
For oral health tips, guidance, and product recommendations based on your needs, goals, and lifestyle, contact us today to schedule an appointment! If you are a new patient and want to learn more about us and the treatments we offer, or find out if you qualify for treatment, schedule a first-time appointment with us!
We are passionate about transforming smiles and getting our patients excited about oral health and orthodontic treatment. We look forward to helping you and your family obtain smiles you’re proud of. See you soon!