We all want that perfect smile. But, while you’re on your orthodontic journey, one major opponent that you’ll face is plaque. Read on to learn more from our team!
All things plaque
Plaque contains ever-growing bacteria in your mouth. It mixes with proteins and leftover food and grows under your gum line as well as on your teeth. If plaque is not removed, it can harden and turn into tartar. Tartar forms below and above the gum line and can lead to receding gums, inflammation, and periodontal disease—all of which can prolong your orthodontic treatment. You cannot remove tartar on your own, which is why regular dental appointments are so important, especially if you have braces.
When you have braces, it may be difficult to clean every hard-to-reach area in your mouth. Braces can make it more challenging to effectively remove traces of food and bacteria between teeth, brackets, under the gum line, and around your orthodontic appliances. For those with aligners, lingering bacteria can grow rampantly if you do not clean teeth before putting trays back on.
Unfortunately, orthodontic treatment makes you more at risk for developing tartar—especially if you aren’t being diligent with oral hygiene. The best way to fight plaque is through preventative care. Here are some tips to remove plaque, avoid tartar, and ensure a healthy smile transformation.
- Floss. While many people skip flossing, it is imperative during orthodontic treatment of any kind. Toothbrushes cannot reach every area in the mouth. If you have braces, flossing helps remove bacteria that might have become stuck in brackets and wires. For those with aligners, flossing ensures that your teeth are clean before placing your plastic trays on top of them.
- Eat well. Think about it this way: when you eat, the bacteria in your mouth also eat. The bacteria thrive on sugary and starchy foods and release detrimental acids once they feed on them. Changing your diet to include healthier meals will make your mouth healthier as well. Remember, no matter what foods you choose, avoid anything sticky, hard, or chewy if you have braces!
- Brush regularly. Although it is recommended that people brush twice a day, when you have braces or aligners, you should brush more often and for longer. During orthodontic treatment, brushing after having anything other than water is a smart move. This helps keep your aligners clear, your braces clean, and your smile pearly white!