Orthodontics and Dental Hygiene

What to Know About Orthodontics & Dental Hygiene

You already know maintaining good oral hygiene is important. However, it is crucial during orthodontic treatment. Why is this? While the orthodontic appliances (such as braces or clear aligners) you or your child might wear are effective at correcting misaligned teeth, they make it harder to keep teeth clean. This does not mean good oral hygiene is impossible. It simply takes the right information and diligence. 

Below, we have offered a list of things you need to know about orthodontics and dental hygiene. Read on, and do not hesitate to reach out to our office if you have questions. 

Why Is Dental Hygiene Difficult to Maintain with Braces?

The components of braces, clear aligners, retainers, and others have lots of nooks and crannies where food residue can hide. If let be, plaque can form. This is a thin coating of microorganisms and organic debris containing bacteria that can produce acids that erode teeth and irritate gums. 

Because it is difficult to remove plaque with braces and other orthodontic appliances, you should:

Be Mindful of Your Diet 

Avoid foods that could increase your risk of tooth decay. This means cutting down or eliminating foods with excess sugar, such as soda, candy, and ice cream. It also means refraining from chewing gum or eating toffee, licorice, caramel, or similar foods that could easily stick in your braces. 

The list of things that could damage braces, retainers, and other appliances does not end there. You also want to avoid hard candies, nuts, beef jerky, and tough pizza crusts. While you should keep eating healthy foods like carrots and apples, you ought to cut them into bite-sized pieces, so they do not get stuck. 

Lastly, you should not chew on ice, pencils, or your nails. Of course, these are not food. But they can damage orthodontic appliances just like the foods we described above. 

Call Sugar Creek Orthodontics at (217) 769-8089. We serve those in Bloomington, Lincoln, Normal, and the areas nearby. 

Practice Daily Maintenance 

Brushing and flossing are especially important during orthodontic treatment. 

To keep your smile healthy, here are some tools and tips you should try:

  1. Get a soft-bristle or bi-level toothbrush (one with longer bristles on the edges and shorter ones in the middle). With braces, these are some of the most effective types of toothbrushes for removing plaque. Should you want to use an electric toothbrush, make sure to keep it on a moderate setting. This way, it is less likely to damage orthodontic appliances.
  2. For hard-to-clean areas, try an interdental brush or proxabrush. The small bristles of these tooth-cleaning aids can get in between wires, brackets, and teeth. With gentle and persistent effort, you can get hard-to-reach areas and control plaque buildup.
  3. Floss once a day. We know this is difficult to do with braces, but there are special flosses and floss threaders available that can help. Plus, our staff will review proper brushing and flossing techniques when you or your child get braces on.
  4. Brush your retainer just like you brush your teeth. You should do this daily. You might also benefit from using a cleaning solution. However, never put your retainer in hot water because it can warp the soft plastic. Always keep it in a case when it is not in your mouth.

In addition to the above, we may recommend an in-office or at-home supplemental fluoride treatment to boost your resistance to cavities. Similarly, we might also recommend an antiseptic rinse to ease gum inflammation and irritation. 

Seek Professional Care Regularly 

Although seeing an orthodontist regularly is great for your dental health, do not overlook visiting your dentist. In fact, it should be a priority. Your dentist will make sure your teeth stay healthy with thorough examinations, cleanings, and preventative care. As we see it, orthodontic treatment is a team effort where everyone—our office, you, and your dentist—has an important role in bettering your smile. 

Consult Our Team Today 

Do you have more questions about orthodontic care and dental hygiene? Schedule a free consultation with our team. We would gladly provide the information you need. 

Call (217) 769-8089 or contact us online

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