What to Know About Orthodontic Hygiene

A third of orthodontic patients are over 18, showing just how much adults are benefitting from an area of dentistry that used to be considered mainly for kids. As treatments have improved, people of all ages are seeking help to correct crooked or crowded teeth and to treat misaligned teeth and jaws.

One of the most important goals when treating orthodontic issues is for the space in your mouth to stay as healthy as possible. This is achieved by maintaining good orthodontic hygiene, a process that requires developing healthy daily habits that might be new to your routine.

What to Know About Orthodontics

The area of orthodontics focuses on improving teeth and gums for both cosmetic and health purposes. You may visit an orthodontist to treat an underbite, overbite, or crooked teeth. Children and adults alike can benefit from orthodontic treatment with a qualified and experienced practitioner, often due to:

  • Bad bite habits
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Insufficient space between teeth

Because your orthodontist is not in charge of cleaning your teeth, it’s vital to continue seeing your dentist to check for cavities and get cleanings that help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and other problems.

People with Braces Must Practice Good Oral Hygiene at Home

Different types of bacteria naturally develop in your mouth. It can stick to your teeth and cause an imbalance that can lead to bad breath, gingivitis and tooth decay. When food gets stuck in braces, bacteria can quickly build up, requiring extra care to maintain your new, beautiful smile. Steps to practice good hygiene at home include:

  1. Using a soft toothbrush, patients with braces should brush their teeth after every meal.
  2. If your braces include elastics or other removable parts, be sure to remove them before brushing your teeth.
  3. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-grade angle towards your gums, aim for your gum line, and clean the space between your gums and braces, as well.
  4. After brushing the chewing portion of your teeth, spend an extra minute – than if you didn’t have braces – brushing the front and backside of each section of teeth.
  5. Carry a brush with you when you leave home so you can practice good hygiene from anywhere.
  6. Regularly rinse your mouth with water to remove food particles in your braces.

Tools & Habits to Protect Braces, Other Mouth Devices

Patients benefit from brushing and flossing daily to prevent harmful bacteria from building up. But anyone with braces knows that cleaning their teeth can be tricky. Ask your dentist or orthodontist what tools and techniques to use. Options include a water irrigator to unclog particles from hard to reach areas, as well as self-threading floss to reach the spaces between the brackets and gums.

Devices that get removed from the mouth also need to be cleaned. Some patients soak their retainers in water and baking soda or white vinegar to remove contaminants. Ask your orthodontist about extra care to take if you have braces and whether any tools or products are recommended to clean removable oral devices.

Regular Dentist Visits Are Essential to Lasting Dental Health

You still need your dentist! Continue to schedule regular visits to the dentist to receive a thorough cleaning and inspection of the teeth and gums, and to keep any root or nerve issues from developing.

Consult with Most Qualified Orthodontist in Your Local Des Plaines Area

To get the most positive orthodontic experience, create a relationship with someone who has the background and experience to provide the best possible medical information and advice, someone who will be able to spot signs of issues that need to be addressed. A free consultation will give you a chance to explore the right solutions for you. An expert like board certified orthodontist Dr. Mona Yang at First Class Smiles will be able to work with you to provide specialized treatment such as braces, aligners and retainers.

Would you like a free orthodontic consultation? The oldest continuing dental practice in Des Plaines, First Class Smiles provides state-of-the-art treatments and expertise for only the best dental care. Our friendly First Class Smiles staff is dedicated to caring for you and your entire family’s oral health and well-being. Contact us online or call us at (847) 824-3536 to set up your next appointment!