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Oral Hygiene

            If you thought brushing and flossing were important before you got braces…well, you were right. But people undergoing orthodontic treatment need to be even more dedicated to good oral hygiene. Braces trap food very easily, which contributes to plaque formation, and if plaque is not removed from teeth and from around braces, patients may be at risk of developing gum disease, dental decay and bad breath. Plaque is a combination of bacteria, debris and bits of food. The bacteria feed on sugars and produce acids. The acids produced can irritate your gums, erode your teeth enamel and contribute to bad breath. It’s important to remove the plaque thoroughly and often. Then, when your braces come off, the surfaces of your teeth underneath the braces will be healthy, strong and they will also look good.

            Using Soft bristle toothbrushes are better than medium or hard bristles at getting into those little corners around your appliances. They also don’t irritate your gums. The most important thing is to look for a tooth brush that’s soft and approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Other than that, the size of the brush, the shape of the handle and other variations are up to you. Electric toothbrushes are recommended since they clean better than regular toothbrush. You must brush at least three times a day. It is recommended to brush after meals to make sure there’s no food trapped in or around braces; however, if you are not able to brush after meals, at least rinse your mouth with water thoroughly. It is recommended to brush for at least two to three minutes each time.

            It may seem like you can’t possibly floss while you have braces, but you can and you should floss at least once a day. Floss threaders can help you get into spaces between the wires and your gum line. At Saba Orthodontics, we show patients how to floss at their first appointment when they get their braces on. There are also videos on our face book page that guide our patients through flossing with braces on.

            Using fluoride toothpaste may help prevent cavities. Dr. Saba recommends that you use an over-the-counter fluoride rinse such as Phos-Flur by Colgate. These rinses usually provide enough fluoride to help protect and strengthen teeth during orthodontic treatment.

            Retainers and other removable orthodontic appliances must also be cleaned regularly. The appliance must be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and if needed some toothpaste. You much be very careful not to drop the appliance. Appliances may break or crack if you drop them or keep them in your pocket. When not wearing, always keep your appliances in the case you have been provided.

            It is very important for patients with braces to visit their dentists for cleaning and checkups at least 2 times a year. We also provide our patients with videos on our face book page that guide them on how to keep a good oral hygiene throughout their treatment and other videos which include how to floss, how to brush, what not to eat, what to do in case of an emergency, and …etc. At Saba Orthodontics, we work hard to provide our patients with healthy and beautiful smiles. 

By Dr. Shadi Saba, DDS, PC