Crossing the finish line with a beautiful smile begins and ends with proper oral hygiene.
Whether they’re training for a marathon or a sprint, runners make it a commitment to lace up their shoes and train every single day. This rigorous routine requires diligence, discipline, patience and perseverance, coupled with a coach that encourages them to get back on their feet and hit the track for one last lap. Despite the exhaustion and sore muscles, they know practice makes perfect.
That same principle applies to orthodontics and oral hygiene. Braces and appliances often get a bad rap for bad breath, decalcification (permanent white spots), gingivitis and periodontal disease. But in reality, poor oral hygiene is the culprit. Similar to the persistence, determination and drive needed to cross the finish line, oral hygiene requires consistent daily effort to achieve a winning smile.
In addition to regular visits to your dentist, here are three tips to help maintain strong oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment:
- Brush Frequently for the Win. Brushing in a slow circular motion 4-5 times per day (morning, night and after every meal) for 3-4 minutes will help ensure you’re removing all the food particles and plaque from every tooth. It’s vital to brush above, below and between the braces, your gumline and on the actual braces/appliances. If the plaque (which contains bacteria and acid) isn’t thoroughly cleaned during orthodontic treatment, your results (and your beautiful smile) may be compromised. Interproximal brushes are great for getting in small, hard to reach spaces like between the braces and underneath the wire.
- Floss Like You Mean It. Waterpiks are a great tool, but they don’t replace daily flossing. Making sure you get all the food and plaque that’s settled in between your teeth is crucial to preventing bad breath, cavities and gingivitis. Super floss, traditional floss and floss threader, or platypus/plackers orthodontic flossers are all Walker Orthodontics’ approved options.
- Check In with Your Coach. While wearing braces, get your teeth professionally cleaned more often than usual at your regular dental office. We recommend every 3-4 months for those who are having a more difficult time cleaning around their braces so your dentist can closely monitor you to catch any early signs of cavities or white spots. Don’t worry, we’ll also check your oral hygiene at every orthodontic visit and provide prescriptive steps to remedy, as needed. If there is plaque present or inflammation of the gums, we’ll bring that to your attention and recommend a solution.
Ultimately, we encourage our patients to determine what techniques and tools work best for them, and then stock up on those items during the course of treatment. If you’re struggling to find your routine, give us a call. Remember, if you want to be first in line in the race to a winning smile, good oral hygiene must be your first priority!