Great care for your teeth and braces is important during any orthodontic treatment. Oral hygiene will be a focus at each appointment in our office. We review detailed instructions for brushing, flossing, and caring for braces with our patients and parents at the beginning of treatment. We review these instructions during treatment as well. You can refer to the videos on this page for a review of brushing, flossing, and using additional tools to care for your teeth and braces. We also review certain foods which can damage the braces or cause problems with your teeth during orthodontic treatment. These foods should be avoided to get the most out of your orthodontic treatment and to stay on schedule with your treatment goals.
Why is oral hygiene so important during orthodontic treatment?
- Plaque, made up of left-over food and bacteria, can build up between the braces and gum line. This can cause the gums to grow and become red and swollen.
- Swollen gums lead to inflammation in the bone support around your teeth.
- Bone and gum tissue need to be healthy in order to respond to the braces and appliances used in orthodontics.
- Unhealthy gums and bone can lead to loss of these supporting tissues (periodontal disease)
- Plaque left on the teeth due to poor hygiene will cause cavities to begin around the braces, which appear as permanent chalky white or brown stains around the braces.
What is expected of our patients during their orthodontic treatment?
- A commitment to good oral hygiene.
- Brushing three times a day – we will give you tools to help!
- Flossing every day – we will show you how.
- Enamel varnish to cover your enamel with a protective coating.
- Limiting drinks with high acid and sugar content (soda pop, sports drinks, energy drinks). Even diet soft drinks have high acid content, which can cause cavities.
- Following our office’s food guidelines – we will give you these guidelines before we put your braces on
- Regular visits to your dentist at least every 6 months during orthodontic treatment.
Please refer to the videos below for guidance in brushing, flossing, cleaning, and caring for your braces.
How to brush with braces
How to floss with braces
Foods to avoid with braces
Here are some of our favorite tools to help keep your braces clean
Helps keep the braces clean and the two minute timer is essential.
The simplest way we’ve found to floss around wires. Available at walgreens.com or amazon.com
Amazing at removing food and plaque from around brackets and wires. Available at most drug stores, Fred Meyer, and amazon.com
After brushing and flossing, rinse with ACT or similar fluoride rinse for one minute. The fluoride helps to strengthen enamel to make it more resistant to decay or white spots.