How to Maintain Good Oral Health During Orthodontic Treatment

When you undergo any orthodontic procedure, your treatment doesn’t stop when you leave the office. If anything, it’s just the beginning.

At Smiles From the Hart, we want you to be well-equipped with the necessary knowledge to take care of your appliance. Let’s talk about exactly how to maintain good oral health with orthodontic treatment—and what can go wrong when you don’t.

Treatments We Offer

Before getting into how you take care of your appliances and some consequences of not doing so, we’ll tell you the appliances we offer to our Middle Tennessee patients!

  • Metal braces are usually what we opt for with our pediatric patients but are equally reliable for older patients.
  • Clear braces (aka ceramic braces) serve the same purpose as metal braces, but the brackets will match the color of your teeth, making them far less noticeable.
  • Our offices proudly offer you Invisalign, which is usually best for adults and teenagers. These are by far the most natural option for straightening your teeth and typically are for less severe alignment issues. A different set is worn each week of your treatment to adjust your smile.
  • Retainers are usually the final step of most orthodontic treatments, used to maintain the new position of your teeth.

How to Maintain Good Oral Health During Orthodontic Treatment

Making The Best of Braces

We’ll start with some good advice! Let’s go over all the ways you can practice oral hygiene while undergoing any treatment option.

  1. Attend All Appointments: All is truly the operative word here! Once you’ve gotten your appliance, you can expect to visit D r. Hart for check-ups to assess progress and make any needed adjustments to traditional braces.
  2. A Smart Diet: Foods that are sticky, chewy, or hard can damage your braces, and too much sugar intake can cause cavities. Some foods that are kinder to braces are smoothies, soups, and steamed vegetables.
  3. General Oral Hygiene: You should try your best to brush and floss after every meal and before bedtime. Using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste is helpful. With any sort of fixed braces, always clean carefully around brackets and wires to remove food particles (ew!) and plaque.
  4. Flossing: The components of braces can make flossing a challenge, but you need to stay on top of it! You can try using orthodontic floss threaders or special floss made for braces.
  5. Mouthwash: Fluoride or antimicrobial mouthwash helps with controlling bacteria and keeping your teeth healthy.
  6. Interdental Brush: This is a small brush designed to get in the nooks and crannies of all parts of your braces.
  7. Hydration: Drinking lots of water is good for you in a number of ways, but orally speaking, it flushes out your mouth of leftover bits of food.
  8. Dental Cleanings: You should still be present for routine cleanings with your general dentist. They can actually help us during treatment by monitoring for any additional problems and being on the lookout for cavities. They can also keep track of any prior dental treatments, like fillings.
  9. Protect Your Appliance: If you play sports or grind your teeth, it can have a negative impact on your braces. This can be helped by wearing a mouthguard. And if you have clear aligners, make sure you keep up with them. Usually, Invisalign offers some free replacements, but they aren’t unlimited!
  10. Emergency Measures: For example, if a wire or bracket breaks, it’s essential to contact one of our offices promptly to get a repair planned. Delaying repairs can also delay your treatment or cause further dental complications.

The real secret to oral health is consistency. Remember that you will be mostly responsible for the outcome of your treatment.

Unpleasant Consequences

It’s important that you have a good idea of the potentially negative effects that can occur when you neglect your oral health. Spoiler alert: None of it is fun!

  1. Cavities and Gum Disease: These conditions will always be a risk, with or without braces. But with an appliance, there’s even more opportunity for bacteria to develop and lead to decay. Gingivitis can also occur with inadequate cleaning or gum irritation.
  2. White Spots and Stains: It’s never the goal to have nice, straight teeth but be unhappy with other aspects of their appearance! If you don’t maintain good cleaning, the evidence will sometimes hide away until the braces come off. 
  3. Prolonged Treatment Time: Dental problems that develop during orthodontic treatment can extend the overall duration of an already long process, not to mention increase costs. One example is how teeth can be weakened over time if issues like cavities aren’t treated, leading to potential structural damage and making additional procedures necessary.

How to Maintain Good Oral Health During Orthodontic Treatment

Putting the Work In

Staying on top of oral health can be a challenge because life can be one, too! But when you remain diligent and determined, the result will be well worth it! Should you have further questions about oral health or are considering orthodontic treatment, you can reach out to us in Gallatin (615-452-2868) or Murfreesboro (615-890-7246).