Having good oral hygiene is supplementary to maintaining the health of our overall body. Our mouth acts as the gate to our body, bacteria and germs that enter our mouth can also travel down to impact the rest of the body. Maintaining good oral hygiene exceeds the walls of your dental office, it is also a personal commitment to follow a routine at home.
Here are some tips to maintain good oral hygiene:
- Brushing your teeth twice per day
- Using a fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing between teeth at least once per day
- Switching to a new toothbrush after using for about 3-4 months
- Having a well-balanced diet (not too acidic)
- Maintaining regular dental check-ups and cleanings
Oral Hygiene during Orthodontic Treatment
With fixed attachments and brackets bonded to the teeth and wires running across the arch, it is natural for the oral hygiene to be more challenging. There are special techniques and tools that can be used to effectively clean teeth, gums and appliances.
When bacterial deposits are allowed to stay on the tooth surface, the chances of hypocalcification, cavity development and gum enlargement due to inflammation increases significantly. It is paramount that the teeth and gums be kept clean so that after the orthodontic treatment, the patient will have aligned, healthy teeth and not have to go through restoration appointments that ultimately compromises the integrity of the teeth.
Not only is good oral hygiene good for the oral cavity and the general health, but it is also more socially acceptable. With food and plaque stuck on the teeth and/or appliance, it is firstly unappealing to others and could also generate a bad smell.
Here are some tips to a healthier smile:
- Brush morning and night – brush once across the arch above the brackets, once across the arch directly on top of the brackets, and once across below the brackets
- Use interdental brushes to clean the sides of and between the brackets – rub right against the brackets
- Floss nightly (and after meals if possible) using GUM Floss Threaders, Oral-B Super floss or GUM EasyThread – floss should reach below the gumline, against each tooth
- If you are finding difficulty seeing the plaque or unsure if you have effectively removed the plaque, try using a disclosing agent such as Red-Cote or oral science Plaque HD toothpaste to help you visually see and aid in plaque removal
- If the brackets or wires are causing sore and irritated cheeks or gums, use orthodontic wax to protect your soft tissues
What you eat will also play a role in preventing cavities and/or prolonging your orthodontic treatment. Avoid candies, cookies, soft drinks or anything sweet or sticky as retention on the teeth by the appliances will increase cavity risk. Avoid any hard and sticky foods such as toffee, jelly beans, popcorn, caramel, ice, popcorn, etc. Avoid biting directly into an apple or carrot – cut into bite-sized pieces and chew slowly and carefully as these may displace a bracket or molar band, prolonging orthodontic treatment.
For further information or questions, please see your dental professional for advice.