At The Village Orthodontist, we strive to make high-quality orthodontic care easy and convenient for our patients. Dr. Moles and our team of highly trained orthodontic specialists work hard to treat every patient on an individual basis, using the most advanced technology to design personalized treatment plans. But as much as the treatments we perform in the office are critical to your orthodontic success, what you do outside the office is just as important - and it all starts with oral hygiene.
Oral Hygiene With Braces
Oral hygiene is a vital part of maintaining a healthy smile during orthodontic treatment. Braces and other orthodontic appliances worn during treatment are great for helping to align your teeth, but can also house bacteria and plaque - and that's bad news for teeth. Therefore, it’s extremely important to pay attention to your mouth and take steps to keep your appliances squeaky clean throughout treatment.
Plaque: Your Teeth's Worst Enemy
Plaque is one of the main concerns in oral hygiene, and it's toxic to healthy teeth. Bacteria grow naturally in your mouth, but without care, they can multiply and grow into a biofilm that attaches itself to teeth. The bacteria within plaque take sugars and carbohydrates in the foods you eat and turn them into corrosive acids that eat away at teeth, eventually causing cavities. A strong oral hygiene regimen is critical for minimizing plaque and protecting your teeth from damage.
Oral Hygiene 101
As you might expect, the cornerstones of oral hygiene are daily brushing and flossing. While you're wearing braces or undergoing orthodontic treatment, you'll want to brush your teeth at least four times per day: once in the morning, once after lunch or after school, once after dinner, and once before bed. If you're wearing Invisalign, you'll also need to brush your teeth and your aligners every time you take them out or put them back in.
You'll need to floss at least once daily, and if you're wearing braces, this will require a floss threader. You can also use an interdental brush, which is a small pine tree-shaped brush, to clean the hard-to-reach areas in between your braces.
Diet & Healthy Teeth
Brushing and flossing are critical, but they're not the only component to oral hygiene. You probably already know that diet is critical to your general health, but it has a big impact on oral health as well! Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for maintaining healthy teeth – especially while you're wearing braces.
Try to avoid foods that are high in sugars, carbohydrates, and acids, and if you're wearing braces, you'll also need to avoid foods that are hard or sticky, as these can damage your braces. Instead, opt for a balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and low-fat cheeses and yogurts.
Brushing, flossing, and diet are all important for your teeth, but you'll still need to maintain a regimen of regular professional cleanings from your dentist. They'll give your teeth the full, deep cleaning they need, and they'll also be able to catch any dental health problems before they progress.
If you don’t pay close attention to your oral hygiene, it can do more than affect your smile. Neglecting your teeth can increase your risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. At the Village Orthodontist in Frederick and Thurmont, Maryland, Jon Moles, DDS, helps you develop and maintain excellent oral hygiene habits, ensuring a lifetime of strong, healthy teeth. It’s particularly important to seek his guidance during orthodontic treatment, since that’s when many individuals slip into bad habits. Call the office or book an appointment online today to learn more.
What is oral hygiene?
Oral hygiene refers to how you take care of your mouth, teeth, and gums in an effort to keep the area clean, healthy, and disease-free. Practicing good oral hygiene can save you time and money, limiting your risk of developing oral health problems that require treatment.
How do I practice good oral hygiene?
The best way to practice good oral hygiene is to brush and floss regularly, which means twice a day. This is the most effective way to keep your teeth and gums healthy and looking their best. During your orthodontic screenings, Dr. Moles can pinpoint problem areas and provide tips on how to improve your brushing or flossing technique.
Another key element of good oral hygiene is your diet. Try your best to limit your sugar intake, as this often leads to oral health complications. Acids released from sugary products — like soda and candy — damage and dissolve your teeth. A high-sugar diet can contribute to significant tooth decay.
If you’re in the midst of orthodontic treatment, Dr. Moles is here to help, offering tips on how to maintain good oral hygiene while you’re wearing braces, removable aligners, or a retainer. It’s critical you know that just because you’re in the middle of treatment to straighten your teeth, you can’t neglect your oral hygiene.
Why is it important to develop good oral hygiene?
Developing good oral hygiene habits, particularly at a young age, helps your teeth grow strong and healthy into your teen and adult years. It also lessens the likelihood that you need complicated, expensive orthodontic treatment later on.
Your oral health is also closely tied to your overall health and poor oral hygiene can lead to many grave complications. Researchers have discovered links between bad oral hygiene and a variety of serious health problems, including:
- Pregnancy complications
- Heart disease
- Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of your heart)
Neglecting your oral hygiene can essentially cut years off your life, while maintaining good habits — such as brushing and flossing daily — can extend your health and limit your risk of serious health conditions later in life.
If you’d like to schedule an appointment at the office to learn more about how to address your oral hygiene habits, call or use the online booking tool today.
Check out our videos below on Oral Hygiene