October is National Dental Hygiene Month! Did you know that your oral hygiene routine is especially important when you have braces? If your mouth is full of brackets and wires, it might seem extra tricky to clean your teeth, but if you want to avoid tooth decay and discoloration, your oral hygiene is of the utmost importance!
Food debris becomes trapped in the teeth more easily when you have braces due to the wires and brackets. In turn, this can result in an accumulation of bacteria, which causes plaque to form on the surface of your teeth. If you do not clean your teeth properly to remove this leftover food, it can lead to tooth decay and even stained teeth. You certainly don’t want discolored teeth to ruin your new, straight smile! To prevent this, try to follow these simple oral hygiene tips:
Select the right dental tools
Here at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics, we recommend that you brush your teeth with a soft-bristled brush and a fluoride toothpaste. Also, you should be checking the head of your toothbrush regularly to look for signs of wear and tear. When you have braces, your abrasive brackets and wires can wear out your toothbrush more rapidly, and a worn-out toothbrush isn’t as effective at cleaning your teeth.
Spend some time on your teeth
During your orthodontic treatment, you need to be brushing at least two minutes twice daily, and, ideally, more than that! If it’s possible, you should brush any time you complete a meal to rinse away leftover food debris. When you’re brushing, take your time, and make sure to brush every single tooth above and below each of your brackets. When you go slowly, you’ll be more likely to cover the majority of the tooth’s surface, preventing the accumulation of harmful plaque.
Floss your teeth
Flossing isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a requirement. It’s one of the most vital things you can do to ensure a healthy and clean mouth. To make flossing easier when you have braces, we recommend purchasing a floss threader.
If you can’t brush your teeth after every meal, we recommend rinsing your mouth out with water. This helps to wash away leftover food that has become caught in your braces and teeth. We also recommend using a mouthwash—it kills the harmful bacteria that gets trapped in those hard to reach places in the mouth!
When you have braces, it’s especially important to steer clear of foods and beverages that are harmful to the teeth. We especially recommend avoiding pop—the combo of high sugar and acid content is terrible for your oral hygiene (and body)!
Make sure to follow these easy tips to keep up a healthy mouth this National Dental Hygiene Month. If you’d like to follow up with any questions about your oral health, get in touch with us at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics.