Did you know that approximately 80% of teenagers in the US wear braces? And what do these young people all have in common? They need to take extra care in keeping their teeth clean and healthy during their orthodontic treatment. Just as sometimes a teen needs to be cajoled into cleaning their room, there may be a similar need to promote optimal dental hygiene.
Although it may seem obvious, cleaning your teeth fully at least twice daily, and after every meal, if possible, is crucial to taking care of your teeth while in braces. The impact of poor dental hygiene during orthodontics can be both severe and lifelong. If you want to avoid bad breath, gum swelling, stains on your teeth, and cavities, here are a few tips to help you maintain clean teeth during the months of treatment.
- Give each tooth individualized attention. Brush the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down toward where they meet. Brush the bottoms of your teeth and braces with your brush angled up.
- Make sure to brush the front and back surfaces of the tooth, and especially the spot where the tooth meets the gum. Don’t forget the biting surfaces, especially in the back of your mouth, by the molars.
- If you have elastic bands or headgear, remove these parts before you brush or floss.
- Brush after each meal, and if you must skip real brushing, at least rinse your mouth with water
- Use a fluoride rinse daily; While in treatment, Dr Foote recommends using Phos-Flur. Phos-Flur is an anticavity fluoride rinse that helps prevent white spots as well as cavities. Swish about 2 teaspoons, (10ml marked on cap,) for about 1 minute then spit it out. The extra fluoride can help protect and strengthen the teeth.
- Floss daily! Whether you use traditional floss or you prefer the type that you can thread through your wires does not matter – just make sure you do not skip this step!
- Make sure to keep your twice yearly dental hygiene checkups with your dentist, and follow his/her additional advice for your cleanings during treatment. If you need a recommendation for a dentist in the area, please give our office a call (610) 525-6142.