Other Orthodontic “No-Nos”:
Pushing your tongue against your teeth
Chewing on pencils or pens
Tearing things with your teeth
Biting your fingernails
Dental Hygiene during Treatment
As you eat, your teeth, braces and appliances collect food. If food is left on teeth overnight, a thick plaque forms on the teeth and gums. Plaque causes bad-breath, tooth decay and gum disease (swollen, puffy, red, overgrown, or bleeding gums). Drinks and foods containing sugar can damage the tooth surfaces and gum tissue. Bleeding and swollen gums are a sure sign that plaque is not being properly removed. If your gums are swollen and inflamed your teeth will not move as easily, you will experience more discomfort during your treatment and white spots or decay will form on the teeth under and around the braces and appliances. It is discouraging to work hard to straighten teeth, only to finish and find decay or white spots on the teeth. The following is essential for the proper care of your teeth and gums
Waterpik- We highly recommend the use of a Waterpik to loosen food and plaque before flossing and brushing. The Waterpik should be used on the lower water pressure settings so the gum tissue is not excessively irritated. The use of a Waterpik does not take the place of good toothbrushing.
Dental Floss – Although somewhat time-consuming, dental floss should be used when wearing braces or appliances. Floss at least once per day just before bedtime and use a floss threader if necessary.
Soft Bristled Toothbrush – Use your toothbrush after each meal and before bedtime. A travel brush carried in a purse or placed in a locker is great for brushing after lunch. Examine your teeth for food and plaque and thoroughly clean all surfaces of the gums, teeth and braces. Re-examine your teeth to make sure all visible food and plaque have been removed. Repeat this step as often as needed to assure that no visible plaque or food remains. Extra care must be taken in the area between your gums and the braces. Concentrate on brushing your gums and the gumline as well as your teeth.
Electric Toothbrush – Although it is not absolutely necessary for good hygiene, an electric toothbrush may make brushing easier.
A Few Tricks – Since most patients watch some TV, we have found it to be effective to sit down in front of the TV daily with a toothbrush without toothpaste, and massage the teeth and gums with the toothbrush bristles for about 30 minutes. Thirty minutes gives you plenty of time to do a good job, and makes TV time more productive. Brushing while listening to music or studying is also acceptable. You may want to use toothpaste to freshen your breath, but don’t use toothpaste during this 30 minutes. We want you to avoid the “once over lightly” technique. To concentrate better, you may use your left hand if you are right handed, and vice versa. The most important time to brush is just before going to bed. Take your time and do it right.
Regular Dental Checkups – Although you are having your braces checked regularly, it is very important to continue to see your family dentist at least every six months for a thorough examination and cleaning of your teeth. If you experience difficulty with good oral hygiene you my need to see your dentist more frequently.
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