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Conservative Treatment Aligned With Each Patient’s Goals



Young girl with braces receiving dental care

An orthodontist has been to dental school and is skilled enough to spot gum and teeth problems. However, seeing an orthodontist is not enough to keep your teeth healthy. During your time receiving braces, it’s also important to keep seeing a dentist for cleanings, exams and dental treatments. Learn why dental care and oral hygiene is important during your time with braces and how it can help you have a better smile after your braces!


Caring for Metal Braces

Your dental care during braces will depend on the type of braces you receive. If you choose metal braces, brackets and wires in your mouth make it easier for food particles to get stuck. This quickly leads to dental issues if proper care is not taken. You have to be meticulous about cleaning away plaque and stuck food particles so that you avoid tooth decay and demineralization of your tooth enamel. You do this by:

  • Brushing after every meal. Your braces easily trap food particles every single time you eat. Brushing after each meal can prevent staining and reduce the potential for bacteria buildup. When brushing, make sure you have a regular, soft-bristle brush. Brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth that has a bracket.
  • Using a threadable floss or floss threader. You will quickly notice that you can’t floss the conventional way with metal braces because the archwire is in the way. If you use a floss threader, thread regular floss through the eye of the threader like you would a sewing needle and thread. Or, using threadable floss, insert the small or pointed end in between your teeth, pulling it through. Once in place between your teeth, you can floss the two teeth on either side of where you have inserted the floss, taking care not to apply force or pressure against the archwire. Repeat between all teeth.
  • Using a proxabrush. This is a small brush that looks like a Christmas tree. Place the proxabrush between two brackets, below the archwire, brushing up and down. After several strokes, repeat this motion by inserting the brush from the opposite side (either down from the top or up from the bottom).


young girl receiving dental care with braces

Dental Care with Other Braces

There are other types of braces besides metal braces. At our office, we also offer Invisalign, lingual braces and ceramic braces.

  • Ceramic braces – Care for ceramic braces is the same as for traditional metal braces. This is because the design of these braces are the exact same, except they are made out of white, ceramic material.
  • Lingual braces – These braces consist of brackets and wires that are placed on the tongue-side of your teeth (meaning behind the teeth). You will have to be more careful with brushing and flossing your teeth, as you won’t be able to see the brackets and wires as well. However, cleaning is very similar to how you would clean metal braces. With flossing, floss threaders will become your best friend, and you’ll want to be meticulous with this because food can get stuck more often with the braces being inside your mouth by your tongue.
  • Invisalign – This orthodontic appliance is completely different than the other options you have. Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that you switch out every week. The benefit of these aligners is that you can easily remove them, and brush and floss your teeth like normal. No brackets, wires or lengthy flossing session. When you take the aligners out, rinse them to get the saliva off of them. Then soak them in a retainer/braces cleaner. An example is Retainer Brite or denture cleaner.


Do You Need to See a Dentist?

Did you know that an orthodontist must complete dental school. In order to practice orthodontics, they need to complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree followed by 4 years of dental school. After that time, an orthodontist will continue 2-3 years of additional training and schooling to practice orthodontics. Therefore, an orthodontist knows what a dentist knows when it comes to your oral health. However, one point that we want to stress is that you need to continue seeing the dentist during your time with braces.


An orthodontist is skilled at treating issues with your oral health, however, an orthodontist is in charge of correcting bite and alignment. A dentist is the one that will need to correct problems with tooth decay and gum disease. Even though an orthodontist has received the same training, their profession is to not to fill cavities or do root canals unless their practice does both. During your time with braces, you must continue receiving dental care from a dentist. Braces raise your risk for tooth decay and gum disease


dentist cleaning a child's braces

Dental Care during Your Time with Braces

Your dental care during braces will depend on the type of braces you receive. Many patients choose traditional metal braces for straightening their teeth. No matter what orthodontic option you choose, it is particularly important to maintain great dental care through attention to proper oral hygiene. If you don’t know what that proper hygiene routine looks like, we can help you. As always, if you have any questions about braces care or maintenance, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to help you reach your goals and to keep your mouth healthy. For help caring for your braces, or if you are finding certain oral hygiene tasks difficult, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!



cleaning habits

Braces can keep your teeth straighter, making them more beautiful and attractive. However, if your teeth cleaning habits are poor, your smile will take a hit. How well you take care of your teeth before and during braces will be an indication of how your smile will be after your orthodontic care has come to an end. If you don’t brush and floss the teeth enough, you might damage your smile and weaken your enamel. You must step up your cleaning routine during braces to make sure your smile isn’t full of cavities and oral health problems at the end of your care. We can give you the proper recommendations and guidelines to ensure you keep your smile healthy and strong during your time with braces and throughout life.


Brushing With and Without Braces

The American Dental Association recommends brushing and flossing the teeth at least twice a day to keep your mouth healthy and to lower your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. We go beyond that twice-a-day recommendation and suggest that you brush your teeth after every meal. Because your braces can easily attract and trap food particles, brushing after each meal can help prevent staining and reduce the potential for bacteria buildup.


You should use a soft-bristled brush and use one that’s size fits your mouth well. For teeth without braces, the ADA recommends brushing the teeth at a 45 degree angle. Brush each individual tooth, making sure to go all the way up to the gumline. You use a soft-bristled brush to avoid irritating the gums and eroding your tooth enamel. With braces, you want to brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket. This will help dislodge food particles that have become trapped inside the brackets, which is extremely easy to do. Brushing your teeth multiple times a day is one of the best cleaning habits for avoiding decay.


Flossing the Teeth

We recommend flossing your teeth at least once a day. However, that’s for patients that don’t have braces. When you have braces, it’s even more important to floss each and every tooth. It’s also much more time consuming, but the effort you put into your teeth cleaning habits will pay off in the long run. A toothbrush and mouthwash simply can’t get in between the teeth like floss can, so if you skip flossing, you could have food sit and decay your teeth.


You will have to use threadable floss or a floss threader to accomplish this feat with brackets. If you use a floss threader for your teeth, think of your cleaning habits like you’re sewing. You floss the eye of the threader through your teeth and below the archwire. Then you floss the space, pull it out and thread once more. Make sure you don’t apply force or pressure against the archwire as you do this. For some patients, it may take about 10 minutes to floss, but it’s worth taking the time to avoid tooth decay.


Caring for Braces

Caring for your teeth becomes trickier with braces. You will find that you have to devote some extra time to caring for your braces, as you know have about 32 teeth that all have brackets that can collect food. During your time with braces, it is particularly important to maintain good oral health through attention to proper oral hygiene and cleaning habits. If you don’t, you could have your braces removed only to find that many of your teeth have areas of tooth decay. You could also be left with demineralization that leaves marks on all your teeth where the brackets were.


When it comes to caring for your braces, it’s not only important to clear away food particles that are on the teeth, but to be careful of what foods you put into your mouth. To avoid damage to your braces and your teeth during orthodontic treatment, you want to avoid hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar. This means you should avoid eating foods such as hard candy, chips, ice, apples, nuts, popcorn, carrots, corn on the cob, gum, caramel, taffy, licorice, gummies, and similar foods. Prevention is always key for avoid oral health issues!


Proper Teeth Cleaning Habits

If you’re going to spend 18-24 months straightening your teeth, you might as well keep those teeth healthy so they look nice at the end of your treatment. Brush your teeth every single day, multiple times a day. Floss as well and be meticulous with your cleaning habits. The better care you take of your braces while they’re on, the more you’ll enjoy your smile when they come off. If you would like help with your cleaning habits or tips, call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016!