Article by Dr. Leaver & Dr. Gardner
Not properly cleaning your teeth while wearing braces can lead to oral health issues like gingivitis and decalcification (white marks) that can lead to more serious problems. It’s hard to get kids to floss and even harder when they have braces. Flossing with braces will take twice as long as flossing without braces but must be don to prevent plaque buildup and gingivitis. It will take commitment from parents to make sure teeth remain healthy while teeth are being straightened. Good dental and orthodontic care will minimize and prevent oral health problems caused by the presence of traditional dental braces.
GINGIVITIS AND DECALCIFICATION
Gingivitis is the earliest sign of gum disease and appears as red, shiny and swollen gums. It is caused by plaque that irritates the gums and can lead to an infection. Decalcification affects the enamel of your teeth causing white spots or lesions. Decalcification is one of the earliest signs of decay and therefore helpful to look out for. Prevention is crucial as decalcification is impossible to reverse.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOW TO BRUSH TEETH WITH BRACES
To ensure plaque removal it’s important to brush all around the parts of your dental braces as well as all the surfaces of your teeth. If possible, try and brush after every meal or snack. Rinse your mouth well with water if you are unable to brush right away. Using a sonic toothbrush might be easier when you have braces. However, like any toothbrush, a sonic brush will not remove all the plaque so you’ll still need to floss. Getting around brackets, wires and other orthodontic hardware can be difficult with a manual toothbrush but it will do the job if done correctly. Make sure to check the brush heads more regularly as they tend to wear out faster with braces.
EASY WAYS TO FLOSS QUICKLY WITH BRACES; FLOSSERS & WATERPIKS
You can use floss threaders designed to get around your braces. The threaders are inexpensive and disposable. They work by pulling the floss through the teeth above the wire to reach the gum line. You may need to help younger children unable to sit still by sitting them in front of the TV. Help them until they get the hang of it. Make sure to use waxed floss because non-wax floss will catch on braces easier. Make sure to slide the floss right up to the gum line of both teeth before pulling the threader and floss out and moving to the next tooth. This method is time consuming. An easier way to floss is to use a Waterpik with an orthodontic tip to remove plaque that brushing just can’t reach. It is clinically proven to be more effective than using floss with braces. The orthodontic tip has a tapered brush that will remove plaque that forms on the brackets and between your teeth. A Waterpik will also flush out food particles and bacteria around your teeth and underneath the gums.
ORTHODONTIC CONSULTATIONS & TREATMENT
Add fluoridated toothpaste or a fluoridated rinse to prevent tooth decalcification and decay. And try to avoid foods that can cause tooth decay while wearing braces. Always continue with regular dental checkups while you have braces. Some orthodontists will even remove your wire for you prior to a dental checkup to help with the cleaning. Contact Leaver Gardner Orthodontics to begin your road to a beautiful smile.