Patients receiving orthodontic treatment are at a higher risk for cavities and other dental issues. This is largely due to the fact that flossing is extremely difficult with a fixed orthodontic appliance, and simply brushing your teeth can also be much less effective, unless you know how. This is why I aim to give a few simple instructions and options to make sure that you, dear reader, do not compromise the health of your teeth just because you need orthodontics.
Be extra diligent when brushing your teeth, and do not neglect any part of your teeth at all! Food can get stuck between your brace and your teeth as well as in the tiny nooks and crannies of your braces. Floss is recommended to get between the brackets and your teeth. Make sure you use an extra soft toothbrush, as the powerful bristles of a harder toothbrush may damage your enamel, and seeing as how your teeth may well be demineralized, this may cause you to damage the enamel. So be thorough, but don’t be aggressive.
Special orthodontic toothbrushes can also be purchased, and I have written about those in this blog - see some of our older posts for tips on what they are, how they are used, and where you can purchase them.
Using mouthwash is absolutely mandatory! If you have not used it until now, start immediately, as this will not harm the braces but will kill the bacteria that reside in your mouth.
The last thing of note is that bacteria can live on the brace itself, not just on and in between your teeth. Make sure you clean and brush the brace as well as your tooth surfaces, as this is the only way to be sure that you are getting rid of all unwanted plaque and detritus that can give bacteria a place to breed.