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How Your Oral Hygiene May Change For Braces
Good hygiene habits help to keep your teeth healthy, but braces may require a change in those habits. Keeping teeth clean during orthodontic treatment is essential, especially to ensure plaque is kept to a minimum. Plenty of care instructions are provided to patients, but people should know from the beginning that orthodontic work requires more hygiene care than normal.
Tips for tooth care while wearing braces
Teeth are extra susceptible to bacteria buildup while wearing orthodontic equipment, which means it is necessary to take additional hygiene measures to keep them clean. This also helps to avoid problems once the treatment is over. For people wearing braces, there are a few good hygiene tips to keep in mind.
Avoid certain foods
Oral hygiene begins with being cautious of certain foods, especially for people undergoing orthodontic treatment. Dentists can provide patients with a list of foods that can harm treatment and equipment, so it is important to understand this list and follow the advice given. It typically includes the following types of foods and drinks:
- Ice cream
- Hard candies
Take extra care while flossing
Flossing is important on a regular basis, but it is even more important while wearing braces. Food particles can easily become trapped beneath the wires, around the brackets and between the teeth. From there, bacteria can build up in those areas and lead to further issues, such as cavities. Flossing is also important to help remove plaque and ensure tartar does not form along the gum line, leading to gum disease.
There is special floss that can be used that helps clean the hard-to-reach areas, such as under the wires and around the brackets. An orthodontist can show patients with braces how to do this and may suggest using floss threaders for an easier time flossing.
Use a special toothbrush
As with flossing, brushing teeth is essential for good oral hygiene whether a person wears orthodontic gear or not. However, brushing with appliances on the teeth can be more difficult and a regular toothbrush may not be good enough. Fortunately, there are alternatives.
For example, using a toothbrush that has shorter bristles on the inside and longer bristles on the outside helps to clean the areas around brackets and under wires. A dentist may also suggest using an electric toothbrush. There are also interdental brushes that look like mini pipe cleaners and can be used to reach under the wires for more thorough cleaning.
It is recommended that people with braces brush after each meal to help decrease the likelihood of bacteria and plaque building up, as well as demineralization of the teeth due to trapped food particles. This demineralization can leave white scars on the teeth that may be sensitive and susceptible to forming cavities.
Oral hygiene is important no matter if you have braces or not. Proper brushing and flossing, as well as watching what foods are consumed, can all play a role in oral health. That is why it is imperative that patients follow the advice provided by dentists and orthodontists during treatment so that potential problems can be avoided.
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