One of the keys to excellent overall health is optimal oral hygiene, especially when you have braces on your teeth. Optimal oral hygiene also gives you fresh breath and a nicer-looking smile. However, there are other reasons why you should practice proper oral hygiene, whether you have braces or not.
Your body, including your mouth, has abundant amounts of bacteria, which are mostly harmless. However, there are kinds of bacteria that can be detrimental to your health, and your mouth can be a gateway for these harmful bacteria to enter your body. Brushing and flossing regularly will help your body’s natural defenses fight against harmful bacteria, which keeps you healthier.
Your oral hygiene is extremely important to all of us at Hook Orthodontics. If you would like to schedule an appointment or a free consultation, contact us by visiting our “Contact Us” page.
Oral Hygiene Tips: Brushing with Braces
You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food becomes caught in the brackets and between your teeth. Brushing after meals and flossing will help prevent plaque from forming and should become part of your daily schedule. Use a soft toothbrush and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth in small circles above and below the brackets. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray.
If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it can leave a permanent white scar on the surface. A Waterpik or an electric toothbrush can be a useful addition; however, please continue to see your dentist at least every six months for regular dental cleanings.
Oral Hygiene Tips: Flossing with Braces
Flossing with braces takes a few minutes to master, but the effort is well worth it. The first step to flossing is getting the floss under the wire that connects the braces together. A floss threader will help you get the dental floss underneath your archwires. Dental floss with a stiff end is also available. It is pre-cut and is very easy to insert underneath archwires.
Once the floss is under the archwire, it can be wrapped around the tooth on one side. The floss is then pushed up toward the gum line and then pulled down toward the wire. This process should be repeated four to five times to ensure all plaque is removed. Be careful not to put too much pressure on the wire as you pull down. Then wrap the floss around the neighboring tooth. Once both teeth are done, the floss is pulled out and the process repeated for the next two teeth.
The Benefits of Excellent Oral Hygiene
There are many obvious benefits for patients who practice proper oral hygiene. Effective oral hygiene results in the following benefits:
- There are reduced chances for you to experience tooth decay.
- There is less tooth sensitivity.
- You have decreased chances for cavities, as well as the resulting fillings.
- Preventative care is always less expensive than emergency care.
- Keeping your teeth is more likely, rather than needing dentures or crowns.
- You have fresher breath.
- You have reduced chances of root canals and oral surgery, which can be expensive and uncomfortable.
- Your gums are more healthy.
- You also have lower risks of cancer, stroke, heart disease, heart attacks, Type 2 diabetes, and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Overall, good oral care results in a healthier mouth and a healthier body!