Caring For Braces
Dr. Diana and Dr. Neil are known for creating beautiful smiles. Here are some tips for taking care of your braces in Beverly, Salem, South Hamilton, and Topsfield.
Take especially good care of your teeth during orthodontic treatment.
By brushing and flossing regularly, you'll keep your teeth and gums at their best and ensure that your orthodontic treatment will deliver the healthiest smile possible.
When your braces come off, you'll see that your extra efforts have been rewarded with a healthy, great-looking smile that'll last the rest of your life.
If you fail to spend a little extra time caring for your braces, you may end up with white spots on your teeth once the braces are removed. This is an unsightly condition that no one wants.
Doing Your Part
To get the healthy and beautiful smile that you want, you, your family dentist, and Dr. Diana and Dr. Neil will have to work together as a team.
As the patient, you play the key part. It's up to you to make sure that your treatment is successful. Most importantly, you must keep your teeth clean and maintain good dental hygiene while you're wearing braces.
Proper dental care will take a little extra time and effort, but the results are well worth it. It will help you enjoy the best possible smile from your orthodontic treatment.
Plaque Is Your Enemy
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that collects on your teeth. It's made of bacteria, food, and saliva. If you let plaque and trapped food stay on and around your braces, they can cause swollen gums, bad breath, cavities, and permanent marks on your teeth.
As your Beverly, Salem, South Hamilton, and Topsfield orthodontist, we advise brushing your teeth regularly to remove this plaque. We teach all of our patients the correct way to floss while wearing braces to make sure you remove all plaque regularly.
When to Clean
Brush thoroughly each time you have a meal or snack. If you can't brush right away after a meal, be sure to at least rinse your mouth well with water until you can brush.
Carry a travel toothbrush so that you can brush when you aren't home. At least once every day, brush your teeth and braces thoroughly until they are spotlessly clean, and then floss. This takes a little extra time, so you may want to do it at night before going to bed.
How to Brush
Basic oral hygiene involves brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste and flossing. This is always important, but especially when wearing braces. We recommend using an electric toothbrush to clean around your brackets or Invisalign attachments.
Before brushing your teeth, it's very important to remove your elastics. You can't brush your teeth correctly with elastics on.
Then, brush your teeth as you usually would using a circular motion, holding your toothbrush at 45 degrees from the gumline. Brush both inside and outside teeth surfaces. Make sure you brush your braces firmly to reach all the food particles around the brackets or wires. Make sure all the debris is removed.
How to Floss
Along with brushing, flossing is essential while wearing braces. Flossing with braces can be tricky because you have to thread it under the archwire and between your teeth.
A floss threader is quite helpful when flossing with braces. The threader is a large plastic needle that makes flossing much easier to do with the wires in place.
To floss, thread the floss under the archwire. Remove the threader and then floss the tooth on each side. Repeat the threader and clean method with each tooth until all food particles are removed.
Flossing once a day is necessary. However, it can be tricky. We will make sure you are comfortable flossing with your braces before you leave the office.
Anytime you would like to review proper brushing or flossing with braces, our staff would be more than happy to show you. We love your teeth too!
You'll need to be diligent to effectively take care of your teeth. Children in braces may not have the discipline they need to care for their teeth, so parents need to provide encouragement and help. You should continue to see your dentist at least twice per year for professional cleanings and check-ups.
Other Hygiene Helpers
In addition to the regular dental hygiene tools we are familiar with like toothbrushes and floss, there are a few products we can recommend that make brushing teeth with braces a little easier to manage.
- Interproximal Brush: This tool slips under your archwire to more completely remove plaque and food particles near your brackets.
- Prescription Fluoride Toothpaste or Fluoride Rinse: Use once a day as part of your cleaning routine, if Dr. Diana or Dr. Neil prescribes it. For the best results, use with your interproximal brush to deliver maximum fluoride protection to your teeth.
- Power Toothbrush or Waterpik: These devices, such as the Oral-B Professional Series toothbrush, are designed to make brushing easier and more efficient.
Problems Caused By Poor Oral Hygiene
Good dental hygiene is critical during orthodontic treatment. Without it, plaque and food can accumulate around your braces.
The bacteria in plaque react with sugars and starches in food and form an acid that can eat away the enamel on your teeth, leading to white marks, cavities or gum disease.
- If plaque accumulates around your braces, it can leave permanent stains on your teeth called decalcification. Lines and spots from decalcification will remain on your teeth for life.
- Periodontal disease, caused by the build-up of plaque, occurs in three stages. In the first stage, plaque accumulation irritates the gums. Your gums may be puffy or swollen. They may bleed when you brush or floss. This is called gingivitis.
- Over time, the build-up of plaque may harden into a substance called tartar. As tartar accumulates, gaps or pockets may form between your gums and teeth. Even more tartar can collect in these pockets. This is called periodontitis.
- Pockets of bacteria form and deepen beneath your gums, attacking and destroying the bone that anchors your teeth. This can even cause healthy teeth to loosen or eventually fall out. This is called advanced periodontitis.
Prevent Gum Disease
Early gum disease is reversible with professional help and good home care, but if you ignore it, it can get worse.
Gum disease is usually painless, so you need to pay attention to signs like bleeding or swollen and puffy gums. Carefully follow Dr. Diana's, Dr. Neil's and staff's directions on hygiene to avoid these problems.