Orthodontic Oral Hygiene

Importance of Oral Hygiene:

Have you ever wondered why your dentist and orthodontist ask you to brush and floss after every meal? That’s because food and drinks cause plaque to build up on your teeth. The plaque that builds up contains a harmful and acidic bacteria that eats away at your enamel (the protective coating on your teeth) and causes staining decalcification, tooth decay, caries, cavities, and even gum disease.  Orthodontic treatment does not cause decalcification, white marks, caries, etc. However, your orthodontic appliances may be more prone to retaining food particles, making good oral hygiene more of a challenge. Good oral hygiene is of the upmost importance during orthodontic treatment. Our team will teach you how to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your treatment with us and it is up to you to comply and keep up with your healthy habits during home care.

Causes of Decalcification, Staining, White Marks, and Cavities:

As mentioned above, orthodontic treatment does not cause decalcification, staining, white marks, and cavities. Orthodontic treatment does make good oral hygiene more of a challenge. Keep reading to learn why:

  • Food can easily get stuck in your orthodontic appliance.
  • Food that sits on the surface of your teeth will cause bacteria and plaque to accumulate.
  • This plaque will continue to build up on the teeth and can be visible to the naked eye within a matter of a few hours. The result? Teeth covered with white or yellow gunk!
  • That “gunk” (plaque) contains bacteria. This bacteria causes decalcification, caries, and infections.
  • The only way to remove the plaque from the teeth is to brush and floss thoroughly.
  • Thorough brushing is important to ensure you are removing all of the plaque and leftover food particles that tooth decay.
  • Some patients may be more prone to caries and cavities than others, but all patients can reduce that risk by maintaining excellent oral hygiene.
  • Our staff will give you oral hygiene instructions at the start of your treatment and will evaluate your hygiene during each scheduled appointment.
  • We advise that all of our patients continue to see their general dentist for regular hygiene visits throughout the course of treatment.
  • We take oral hygiene seriously at Vinson Orthodontics and will intervene if we notice that a patient’s hygiene is lacking.

Tartar:

Dental Tartar (also called calculus) is caused by plaque staying on your teeth too long and hardening. If you have tartar on your teeth, you will not be able to remove it by simply brushing. Tartar removal requires special treatments from a dentist such as scaling.

Gum Loss and Periodontal Disease:

Does tartar sound bad? Other problems that can arise from poor oral hygiene are: Gum Inflammation (Redness, Swollen Gums, Bleeding Gums), Gingival Loss (Receding Gums), Periodontal Disease (potentially causing tooth loss), and more.

We Need Your Help in Achieving Your Great New Smile :

It is our responsibility to straighten your teeth. It is your responsibility to keep them clean. Our staff will provide you with all of the information you will need to maintain good oral hygiene throughout the course of treatment. It is up to you to comply with this. We also expect all of our patients to continue to visit their general dentist on a regular basis. Patients who have “excellent” oral hygiene during the extent of their treatment get to win special prizes and gift cards.

Please read our brushing and flossing instructions below and use these rules to ensure optimal results of your orthodontic treatment.

Brushing:

  • Brush your teeth thoroughly after all snacks, meals, and beverages.
  • We recommend a minimum of 2 minutes per brushing session.
  • Use a soft bristled toothbrush or electric toothbrush unless otherwise advised by our office.
  • Don’t just brush your teeth, you must also brush your gums.
  • Applying the right amount of pressure, and reaching into all the cracks, crevices, nooks, and crannies of your mouth will take practice.
  • If you have braces, you will need to take extra care in cleaning your teeth because food can easily be caught in brackets and wires. Our office may provide an inter-proximal toothbrush to help you get around the brackets and wires.
  • If you are in Invisalign, please brush after each meal, before putting your trays back in.
  • Sore gums or gums that bleed is a sign that your oral hygiene needs improvement.

 

Flossing:

  • Brushing and flossing are both elements of good oral hygiene.
  • We recommend that our patients floss and brush on a regular basis throughout treatment.
  • If you are in braces, our office will teach you how to floss. If you are in Invisalign, please floss at least once a day.
  • Flossing does not replace regular brushing.