The Importance of Dental Hygiene with Braces
When you have braces, trying to keep your teeth clean can seem like a waste of time. Between the brackets and wires, so much of your smile is covered, why bother? In fact, maintaining good dental hygiene with braces is even more important than when you don’t have them.
White Spots on Teeth
When food or beverages are allowed to stay on the teeth for extended periods of time, bacteria grows and ultimately turns into plaque. This plaque slowly decays the enamel of your teeth, leaving chalky white spots around the brackets.
Also known as white spot lesions (WSLs), these spots become very obvious when your braces are removed since the area of your teeth covered by the brackets will still be the same color as before you started treatment. Even worse, these spots don’t disappear over time and cannot be removed by you, your orthodontist, or your dentist.
The only way to prevent white spot lesions is to keep your teeth clean by thoroughly brushing your teeth two to three times a day, or after each meal. Brushing will remove the food before harmful bacteria or plaque can develop. Many patients find electric toothbrushes more effective than manual ones, but whichever you use, the important thing is to brush regularly and properly.
Stains on Teeth
If you enjoy dark-colored food and drinks while you have braces, you can end up with another problem that is the opposite of white spot lesions. Eating or drinking dark things on a regular basis can stain anyone’s teeth, but the effects of doing so are even more obvious if you have braces. Coffee, colas, red wine, and dark sauces can discolor exposed tooth enamel, which means you could have visible white rectangles on your teeth where the brackets were when you get your braces removed.
Again, the best way to avoid this is to brush your teeth regularly and thoroughly.
Another common issue patients encounter when they have their braces removed are inflamed gums. Gums become red and painful when food is allowed to sit between them and the teeth. Flossing between each tooth every day keeps these areas free from debris, which keeps the gums healthy. Using a floss threader can help get the floss around the wires so you can reach the bottom of your teeth.
Seeing a Dentist Regularly
Another common misconception is you don’t have to see a dentist when you have braces because you’re already going to the orthodontist for check-ups. While orthodontists have received the same training as dentists, the majority of them do not provide dental care, such as routine cleanings. Seeing your dentist every six months will help keep your teeth clean and healthy during your orthodontic treatment.
Getting your braces off and seeing your new smile should be exciting, not disappointing because of stained teeth or inflamed gums. Taking care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist during treatment will help ensure your results are exactly what you’ve been looking forward to seeing when the day arrives.
Fravel and Brewer Orthodontics has been helping patients achieve beautiful smiles as the preferred orthodontist in Winter Garden, Ocoee, and West Orange County, Florida for almost 30 years. Treatment options for kids and adults include Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, ceramic braces, and silver braces. Call us at (407) 656-0001 to schedule a free consultation today!