Don’t Neglect Your Oral Health During Orthodontic Treatment

Published on January 17, 2017, Updated on April 10, 2020

Oral Health

Good oral health during orthodontic treatment requires dedication to high oral health standards and instructions given to you by your orthodontist to safeguard your oral health and treatment outcomes. Orthodontic treatment can increase your risk for oral conditions because the orthodontic apparatus can complicate hygiene efforts. Brackets and wires can block areas you need to brush or floss. Braces can more easily trap food particles allowing the particles to wreak havoc on your tooth enamel. These conditions can quickly give rise to gingivitis, gum swelling, bleeding, bone loss and eventual tooth loss. The good news is, by applying the orthodontic tools available to you for your hygiene efforts and committing to regular visits to your dentist for in-office cleanings, your oral health during orthodontic treatment can stay intact.

Your Role in Your Results

Dr. Hardy is dedicated to providing you premium services, products and results, but need your cooperation for your orthodontic treatment to go smoothly.  Your role in safeguarding your oral health during treatment is pivotal for your best outcome. Patients that dedicate themselves to being active participants in the orthodontic treatment process can enjoy many positive benefits throughout treatment.  You may not realize how much your efforts impact your results and orthodontic experience, but they do. Common problems with braces can be avoided with your efforts.  Consider these six ways that your smile will benefit through dedication to keeping high oral hygiene standards. Your efforts:

  • Reduce demineralization:  Demineralization can occur on the tooth, under the bracket, if you aren’t protecting the tooth enamel from plaque and tartar accumulation. Plaque acids rob your teeth of the important nutrients they need to fight bacteria and cavities.  Food that gets trapped under your bracket turns acidic and eats away at the tooth structure and material.  Demineralization of your teeth can leave long-lasting, white scarring on your teeth. Demineralization is difficult to reverse once the tooth enamel has been damaged.
  • Accelerate treatment time/results:  Dedication to good oral hygiene can help your treatment move along consistently without any slow-downs due to decay, broken brackets, or gum disease. Teeth that are not treated with care can develop decay that must be treated and that can slow your treatment results.
  • Cut down on treatment costs:  Delayed treatment means more visits to our office. More visits to our office means less time saved by you and more dollars you are having to spend on revisits, new materials and associated treatment fees.
  • Promote at more positive, pain-free experience:  Good oral hygiene practices help to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment process.  Healthy teeth are symptom-free allowing you to enjoy your braces without distracting aches and pains brought on by decay or sensitivity.
  • Receive a brighter, whiter outcome: Patients that strive to brush after every meal, floss daily, use mouthwash when necessary and keep their regular dental check-ups and cleanings fight the effects of demineralization and enjoy whiter, brighter teeth post-treatment.  If you are going to spend the time improving your smile with braces, don’t settle for less that your very best outcome by choosing to skimp on your oral care, daily duties.
  • Safeguard your total body wellness: Bacteria accumulation and tooth decay in your mouth can easily travel to your other body systems making you feel less than your best and inviting serious diseases and conditions that have been linked to gum disease such as: heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Prevention Strategies for Better Oral Health

Now that you have learned a little about things you can do to help improve your experience and outcomes with orthodontic treatment, consider adding the following preventive strategies for optimum oral health:

  • Schedule Regular Dental Visits: Your dentist and hygienists are trained to spot problems right when they start. By keeping your 6-month check-ups, they can identify problems when they are small so you can make the necessary lifestyle adjustments and receive the treatment you need to stop tooth decay in its tracks.
  • Deep Cleanings: Dentists and hygienists are experts at cleaning teeth with braces.  Brackets, archwires and other orthodontic appliances do not intimidate them!  They can clean around them safely without threatening the integrity of your orthodontic appliance.  Get those braces/teeth cleaned regularly!
  • Regular flossing: Some patients get frustrated with the added steps that flossing can require for non-Invisalign patients. Don’t give up!  Before you know it, you will have mastered this new skill. If you are feeling like you are failing with your flossing efforts, let a member of our Belmar Orthodontics team know so we can help you. Floss threaders and water flossers can be great tools for helping you floss your teeth with ease. Flossing is NOT an optional oral care step with braces. Remember, your toothbrush only cleans two sides of your tooth. Floss gets the other two sides (the area between your teeth) and helps to remove food and bacteria from gum pockets that surround your teeth.
  • Pay attention to warning signs:  As a good orthodontics patient, pay attention to the warning signs that your body may send you.  If you find that you have a tooth (or teeth) that are sensitive to warm, cold or sweet foods let your dentist know. Also, be on the lookout for tooth discoloration, toothaches, and/or bleeding gums.  All of these can be signs that your mouth is fighting tooth decay and needs attention from your dentist.

Call for an Oral Health Consultation

If you have oral health questions, or if you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation at Belmar Orthodontics, please call our office at 303-225-9016 or complete the form below and a member of our staff will contact you via phone or email. Whether you are interested in child orthodontics, adult orthodontics, Invisalign®, or other options, we are committed to providing our patients with personalized care in a comfortable and relaxing environment. Dr. Hardy is committed to strong, open communication and create a custom-tailored treatment plan for each unique patient.  Choosing an orthodontist is a vital component to obtaining the smile you or your child deserves. As an active member of the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists, Dr. Hardy uses his experience working with both children and adults to help his patients achieve straighter teeth and a smile that instills confidence and pride!