Tooth decay is the one of the most common diseases in children and adults. Maintaining good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment is of the utmost importance. It is more difficult to brush and floss around braces, but patients without good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment put themselves at greater risk of plaque developing around the braces, potentially causing cavities and permanent staining of the teeth.
I recommend brushing after every meal, and if that can’t always be accomplished, at least brushing twice a day – after breakfast and before bed. I always tell my patients to see a dentist every 4-6 months. It is especially important to keep up with dental cleanings and exams during orthodontic treatment to keep the hard-to-reach areas clean and maintain healthy teeth and gums. Some people use a small interproximal brush to clean areas that are too small for a regular toothbrush and too large for dental floss.
Flossing can definitely be tricky during orthodontic treatment, but making it a part of a daily routine is essential because flossing will remove plaque between the teeth. Using waxed floss is better than using unwaxed floss because unwaxed floss can fray on the edges of braces bands or brackets. Oral B makes a great product called Superfloss that has a stiff end making it easy to get the floss behind the archwire, a regular section for between the teeth, and a spongy section for wider spaces. My favorite product, however, is the Waterpik Flosser. This is a battery-powered device with a replaceable rubber tip that vibrates to cleanse away plaque, and massages gums to prevent gingivitis. Follow up brushing and flossing with the Waterpik Oral Irrigator, a device that bursts jets of water between teeth and gums to remove food particles and wash away plaque already dislodged by brushing and flossing. You can purchase the Waterpik Flosser and the Oral Irrigator at Aesthetic Orthodontics.
Remember that bacteria feed on sugar, so keeping a well-balanced, healthy diet will also decrease the risk of developing tooth decay. Patients with healthy teeth and gums will have an easier time with braces, making their treatment more enjoyable. At AO, we are always happy to give instruction on how to brush and floss effectively.