Hygiene is always important for maintaining a good set of teeth. But that becomes more important for people who are undergoing orthodontic treatments including attachment of braces or retainers. These external devices can catch the bits of food easily and may at times be hard to remove if they are left that way. So they become easy locations for plaques and gradually attract other problems like bad breath, gum diseases and more. That will automatically raise a question – what special care should be taken by orthodontics patients when it comes to oral hygiene?
Effective Oral Hygiene For Orthodontic Patients
This is probably the most important part of any oral hygiene regime. It is good for everyone from a child to a person with healthy teeth to one undergoing orthodontic treatment. For those with orthodontic appliances, it is better to use soft bristle brushes because the bristles can bend easily to get to every point within the teeth and braces. The hard and medium bristles are shorter and may not reach the corners and may also irritate the gums. These days you can get special brushes made for people with orthodontic appliances. These have shorter bristles surrounded by longer bristles for cleaning the nooks and crannies.
Brushing should be done at least three times a day to remove all possible bits of food from the mouth. In case brushing after lunch is not possible, you should vigorously rinse your mouth with plain water to flush out the bits as far as possible. Brush your teeth gently for 2 to 3 minutes to make sure that every part is covered including the parts of the braces. Also change your toothbrush the moment you find it flaring at the edges.
Brushing and flossing goes hand in hand. While you clean the surface of the teeth with a toothbrush, you cannot get to the space between the teeth. So flossing is required at least once a day, preferably at night before going to bed, to get rid of all the particles that have gathered during the day.
There is a belief that you cannot floss with your braces on. But that is not true and there are flossing materials available that can actually help you to clean not only the spaces between the teeth, but also the space between the wire of the braces and the teeth surface or gum line. A floss threader helps in overcoming the problem of getting between the wire and teeth. In fact, your dentist can help you in this matter and may also show you the technique of the process.
Use Of Fluoride
Fluoride is an essential part of oral health and its importance is more when you are undergoing treatment of the teeth. Make sure there is the right supply of this material and the best way to get it is through fluoride fortified toothpaste.
These days almost all the brands have such toothpaste and you may choose any one from them. Apart from that you may also use any over the counter fluoride fortified mouth rinse for regular use along with brushing. Sometimes special rinse with more amount of fluoride in it or fluoride gel treatment may be prescribed for patients suffering from cavities and decay.
Though you may not directly bring this in the discussion of hygiene for orthodontic patients, it cannot be ignored as it can indirectly affect the health of your teeth.
Remember that while you are wearing braces, there are two types of problems. The first one is that there is a chance of the appliances getting damaged due to some food and second, there is a chance of food particles getting caught in the frame or sticking to it.
To make sure that you do not damage your braces, stay away from food that is hard and needs cracking with teeth. Similarly, stay away from food containing caramel, gum and other sticky substances. These have a tendency to stick to the brackets and wires of the braces. Once they get stuck, it gets hard to remove them simply by brushing and provides the ideal breeding ground for the cavity causing bacteria to thrive.
Caring For The Appliances
Appliances used for orthodontic treatments are as important objects as the teeth of a patient and dental hygiene of orthodontic patients include taking care of these too. So while staying away from food that can damage the appliances already implanted it is also necessary to care for the removable ones. Brushing the removable retainers in the same way as your teeth is a must.
You can use toothpaste or special cleaning solutions available for cleaning these. Make sure you take adequate precaution while cleaning so these appliances do not get damaged during the process.