Why oral health is important with braces
Whether you’re wearing braces or not, there are many advantages to good oral hygiene.
Brushing and flossing remove plaque – a sticky colourless film of bacteria that constantly builds up on our teeth. Plaque feeds on carbohydrates and sugars in our diet and can cause tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
If you don’t remove plaque, it can harden and turn into tartar, also known as calculus. Tartar, which is often yellow or brown, provides the perfect environment for plaque bacteria to thrive and multiply.
Unlike plaque, you can’t brush tartar away, and you’ll need to visit your dentist or hygienist for a professional clean.
A good oral hygiene routine will help you keep your teeth free from plaque from the comfort of home and avoid less convenient measures in the future, for example, fillings.
If you want to check how well you’re brushing and flossing, you can use disclosing tablets, which stain plaque to show you areas you might be missing.
Dental health and braces
Your brushing routine is even more important while you’re wearing braces. Brackets and wires provide food and plaque with new places to accumulate and make cleaning your teeth more challenging.
You’ll need to take extra care and brush gently but thoroughly around your brackets and archwires. We’ll show you some tools and techniques to make the job easier.
You won’t be able to use regular dental floss, so instead, you can use interdental brushes or Superfloss to clean between your teeth. Again, disclosing tablets are a great way to check you’ve brushed all the plaque away.
If you don’t keep your teeth healthy during orthodontic treatment, there is a risk of demineralisation, which can cause white patches that can eventually develop into cavities.
Enjoy a brace-friendly diet
We’ll advise you on the foods and drinks you’ll need to avoid during your brace treatment. You’ll need to steer clear of anything that could damage your fixed braces, including very hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy foods like toffees.
There will be lots of things you can still enjoy, and most foods are okay if you cut them up into bite-size pieces.
You’ll also want to avoid anything that could stain your teeth. If your teeth change colour while you’re wearing braces, you might develop white patches where your brackets were shielding your teeth.
Reducing your sugar intake and limiting sweet things to mealtimes is an easy way to protect your teeth against tooth decay.
The benefits of Invisalign
If you’ve struggled with your oral hygiene in the past, or you’re worried about how committed you’ll be to brushing between brackets, Invisalign is an excellent treatment option.
Invisalign straightens your teeth using clear, custom-made aligners. You can take your aligners out to eat, drink and clean your teeth, so you can continue with your usual brushing routine.
We still recommend a low-sugar diet, but you can enjoy all your favourite foods without worrying about knocking a bracket off or bending a wire.
After eating or drinking, just make sure you clean your teeth before you pop your aligners back in. Otherwise, you could trap food or sugars in your aligners where your saliva can’t wash them away.
We include DentalMonitoring for every patient. It allows you to send us photos of your smile between appointments so that we can check your progress. As well as checking the position of your teeth, we can make sure you’re keeping on top of your oral hygiene.
If we have any concerns, we can send you advice through the DentalMonitoring app or invite you into the practice for a face-to-face appointment.
Keep up your hygiene sessions
We recommend regular visits to your dentist and hygienist throughout your treatment.
We have our own in-house hygienist with experience in helping orthodontic patients maintain healthy teeth and gums. During your appointment, they’ll remove all traces of plaque or tartar from your teeth.
As well as preventing cavities, regular hygiene sessions will remove superficial stains to keep your teeth looking brighter and whiter.
If you have any questions about maintaining healthy teeth while wearing braces, don’t hesitate to contact us or book a no-obligation consultation with specialist orthodontist Dr. Jackie Clune.