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August 26 2010

Be sure to do this, when cleaning your braces

Getting braces to correct your teeth can be bad enough for some people, but failing to keep them clean can be a lot worse.

The lips, tongue and cheeks will naturally wash the teeth with saliva, helping to keep them clean. However, when you have braces on, this prevents that from happening. Plaque brings with it tons of germs that cause tooth decay and gum disease. It is for this reason, that most Fort Worth orthodontists will send their patients to a dentist to completely clean their teeth before any orthodontic work begins. Braces, wires, springs, rubber bands make it difficult even for patients with good habits to maintain satisfactory oral hygiene.

Some amount of inflammation of the gums can be expected with braces. It is important for your Dallas dentist to recognize the problem before it progresses to become periodontitis (periodontal inflammation). Periodontal inflammation can delay healing and can cause pain and mobility of teeth during orthodontic treatment. 

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Steps to take to keep you braces and teeth clean:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily. Use fluoridated toothpaste fortified with antibacterial medications to prevent tooth decay and inflammation. Angle your toothbrush 45 degrees towards the gum line and gently brush away plaque that has accumulated between the gums and braces. Try to brush after each meal and avoid eating between meals. If any of the components get dislodged, take it to your orthodontist to get it fixed. Remember to brush all the surfaces thoroughly. Wash out all the food debris after brushing. Use a two-tone plaque-disclosing solution to assess your brushing effectiveness.
  • Specialized orthodontic brushes (where the bristles in the middle are lower than the bristles on the edges), and interdental brushes are available for more effective cleaning. Electric toothbrushes are a good alternative for people who hate brushing. Rubber tip stimulators help dislodge stubborn debris from between teeth.
  • As with all people, whether they wear braces or not, don’t forget to floss! This is the best way to dislodge food particles that get trapped in the most difficult to reach places.
  • Use oral irrigation devices like WaterPik, QuickBreeze or ShowerPik, which use a jet of water to dislodge debris from the tooth surface.
  • Rinse your mouth with an over-the-counter mouthwash daily. Mouthwashes containing antibacterial agents like Triclosan can help further prevent gum disease. Always consult your dentist before prolonged use of mouthwash. Dentists who specialize in Fort Worth, Texas orthodontics can further guide you on how to properly maintain your teeth while undergoing orthodontic treatment.