Patients wearing braces must be vigilant when keeping their braces, teeth, and gums clean. Braces create nooks and crannies where food particles and plaque can quickly accumulate. Plaque can lead to potential dental issues if not properly maintained.
By following Dr. Frost’s oral hygiene tips and adopting certain habits, you can ensure your braces serve their purpose effectively while maintaining healthy teeth and a lasting, beautiful smile.
Foods to Avoid
Patients should avoid foods that are sticky, hard or chewy. They should also avoid any food and drinks that are known to cause cavities. Foods that are known to cause breakage of orthodontic appliances include gum, hard candy, nuts, whole apples, caramel, popcorn and candy bars.
Sticky and chewy foods pose a high risk of getting stuck in the brackets and wires of braces. Chewy foods can adhere to the braces, lead to plaque buildup, and increase the risk of dental decay and gum problems. On the other hand, hard foods can exert excessive pressure on the braces, causing brackets to break or wires to bend.
Patients should choose their food carefully for successful orthodontic treatment and follow Dr. Frost’s advice. Diligent oral hygiene practices and regular check-ups will pave the way for optimal oral health and a beautiful, confident smile.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene
Oral hygiene is the foundation of maintaining a healthy and radiant smile. For patients undergoing orthodontic treatment, oral hygiene becomes even more critical. Braces are highly effective in correcting misaligned teeth and achieving beautiful smiles. However, they also introduce new challenges when cleaning and caring for teeth.
Braces consist of brackets, wires, and bands, creating additional nooks and crannies where food particles, plaque, and bacteria can easily become trapped. If you don’t clean your teeth properly, tiny bits of food can cause dental issues like cavities and gum disease.
Additionally, retainers and Invisalign aligners are always in contact with the teeth and oral tissues, which may create an environment where plaque and bacteria can accumulate. Failure to clean these oral appliances adequately can lead to several risks and potential oral health problems.
Following Dr. Frost’s advice and practicing good oral hygiene can lower the chance of dental problems while wearing braces or Invisalign. Regular brushing and flossing, along with other important practices, play a key role in preventing plaque and bacteria buildup.
How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces
Dr. Frost encourages patients with braces to brush their teeth at least three times a day. When brushing your teeth with braces, use our office-provided orthodontic toothbrush. Doing sp will ensure all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned. Brush using circular motions on each tooth and around the wire and brackets to effectively remove plaque buildup.
How to Floss with Braces
Flossing is essential to optimal oral hygiene. Use a floss threader or waxed dental floss for braces to get in between the teeth and around the wires and brackets. Gently slide the floss up and down each side of each tooth, including below the gum line. To reach all areas of your mouth, use a fresh section of floss for each tooth.
By following these oral hygiene tips, patients can ensure that their braces remain sparkly clean and free from plaque buildup while achieving the highest standards of dental health.
Caring For Your Retainer
Retainers also play a vital role in maintaining the results achieved through orthodontic treatment. Like your teeth, retainers collect plaque, bacteria, and food particles. To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your retainer, you should clean your retainer every day!
Cleaning your retainer should become an integral part of your oral hygiene routine. After removing your retainer each day, take a few moments to clean it thoroughly. Dr. Frost recommends using a mouthwash rinse or a denture cleaning agent to freshen it up and keep it free of harmful bacteria.
Mouthwash rinses designed for retainers eliminate bacteria and prevent unwanted odors from developing. Soak your retainer in the mouthwash solution for the recommended time, usually a few minutes, before rinsing it thoroughly with water. Doing so will help kill harmful bacteria and leave your retainer with a pleasant, fresh feeling.
Alternatively, using a denture cleaning agent can also be highly effective in maintaining the cleanliness of your retainer. These cleaning agents target the plaque and bacteria accumulating on oral appliances. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, soak your retainer in the denture cleaning solution as directed, then rinse thoroughly with water before putting it back in your mouth.
Retainer Hygiene Tips
While daily cleaning is crucial, there are a few other oral hygiene tips to maximize the lifespan and cleanliness of your retainer:
- Brush your retainer: Gently brush your retainer with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste daily. Doing so will help remove any surface debris and bacteria.
- Avoid hot water: Hot water can distort the shape of your retainer, so always use cool or lukewarm water for cleaning.
- Handle with care: When cleaning or handling your retainer, be gentle to prevent any damage or bending of the wires.
- Keep it moist: If you’re not wearing your retainer, store it in a damp environment like a retainer case to prevent it from drying out and becoming brittle.
Incorporating these practices into your daily routine ensures your retainer remains clean, odor-free, and free from harmful bacteria. Regular care and maintenance will keep your retainer in optimal condition and contribute to your beautiful smile’s overall health and longevity.
How to Brush and Floss with Invisalign
Invisalign treatment involves patients wearing aligners for 20-22 hours a day and removing them only when eating, drinking (other than water), brushing, or flossing. Cleaning your teeth thoroughly before putting the aligners back in is paramount.
To clean your teeth while undergoing Invisalign treatment, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque for two minutes. After brushing, floss between each tooth and around the gum line, using a floss threader or waxed dental floss to get underneath the aligners. Once all teeth and gums are cleaned, rinse with water and put your aligner back in before eating or drinking anything other than water.
How to Care For Your Invisalign Aligners
In addition to cleaning your teeth, giving the aligners themselves a thorough clean is essential. Brush the aligner lightly with toothpaste and lukewarm water and rinse before putting it back in.
Alternatively, you can use a denture-cleaning solution or an oxygenating oral rinse for cleaning retainers. Soaking your aligners in this oral solution once a week is recommended. Dr. Frost also recommends using a soft toothbrush to gently brush any plaque or debris off the Invisalign tray after each use before rinsing with water and re-inserting it into your mouth.
Transform Your Smile with Dr. Frost’s Oral Hygiene Tips
At Frost Orthodontics, we prioritize patient comfort and satisfaction. Our experienced team provides high-quality care and wants to help you create the smile of your dreams. Each of our patients can achieve their desired smile by following these oral hygiene tips to maintain optimal dental health.
Contact us today for more information about our services and to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you maintain the perfect smile!