Caring for and living with braces

A vast majority of people have concerns about the aesthetic appearance of their teeth or are concerned with their bite. In order to correct these malocclusions or cosmetic issues, today’s dentistry offers multiple options for orthodontic correction.

Independent of the type of braces that you may have, it is imperative to maintain meticulous oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment. Failure to do so can lead to all kinds of oral health problems including periodontal disease and tooth decay. It can also lead to delay in treatment and can prolong the amount of time that braces may be necessary. Because appliances are food traps and are also difficult to clean, the importance of a rigid regimen of home care is vital to maintaining good oral health.

Brushing, flossing and the use of an anti-bacterial mouth rinse are the best ways to control plaque buildup and prevent gum inflammation and tooth decay. For those patients who have brackets and wires, brushing and flossing may be difficult. It is, therefore, imperative to take additional time to assure that brushing completely removes any food particles that are caught in the brackets and wires. Flossing, when possible and dependent on the type of appliance, is also an extremely effective aid in removing plaque and food particles. Patients should stay away from sticky foods such as hard sticky candies, soft candies like toffee or caramel, chocolate, popcorn, nuts, stringy meats and other foodstuffs that can get caught or stuck in brackets. The use of an anti-bacterial mouth rinse will also aid in keeping oral hygiene up to par.

For those patients who have removable orthodontic appliances, such as Invisalign, oral home care is also crucially important. While it is important to wear the removable retainers all the time, they should always be removed before eating, brushing and flossing. A patient should brush, floss and rinse every time the appliances are removed. It is also important to clean the removable appliances as per the instructions of the orthodontist. This will ensure that the bacteria which causes gingivitis and tooth decay does not build up on tooth surfaces.

Maintaining meticulous oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment will also help insure that staining does not occur during orthodontic treatment and that there are no cosmetic issues that must be tended to after the braces are removed. In many cases, patients may need to wear a retainer after orthodontic treatment. The same oral hygiene regimen must be incorporated while retainers are in place as well.

Maintaining good home care habits will make life with braces simpler and easier and will help promote a health smile.