Healthy woman teeth and a dentist mouth mirror
Braces can make it more difficult to maintain ideal oral hygiene, which in turn can lead to gum disease and cavities. Here are some tips on how to prevent gum disease during your orthodontic treatment.
Proper Dental Hygiene
There is no magic bullet when it comes to preventing gum disease. Instead, I tell my patients that the best way to prevent gum disease is by following a proper dental routine. This includes brushing your teeth at least 2 times a day, flossing your teeth regularly, and rinsing your mouth with and antimicrobial mouthwash such as Listerine. Proper brushing and flossing techniques take time to learn with braces. It is important to angle your toothbrush so that all surfaces of your teeth are cleaned – including under the wire and by your gums. Flossing takes time but it is a very important step!
When it comes to choosing a toothbrush and toothpaste, it is recommended that you:
- Use a soft bristle toothbrush and gently brush your teeth and gums in a circular motion at least 2 times per day.
- Make sure that your toothpaste is non-abrasive and contains ingredients that decrease harmful bacteria that can cause gum disease.
- Remember to change your toothbrush every 3-4 months to ensure its effectiveness.
A well-established brushing routine is only part of an effective dental hygiene routine. Proper flossing is as important as brushing to prevent gum disease. When flossing, make sure to:
- Gently floss between each tooth to remove food particles and plaque.
- Floss daily if possible to prevent gum disease.
The final part of proper dental hygiene is to use a mouthwash to rinse all food particles from your mouth. Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill the germs and bacteria that can harm your gums. An antimicrobial mouthwash will also protect your mouth for up to 12 hours after use, so make sure to make rinsing with mouthwash a part of your dental hygiene routine.
Going that Extra Mile
Braces add another layer of upkeep to any dental hygiene routine. Keep in mind however that the end goal of any orthodontic treatment is to leave you with straight teeth, a great bite, and a beautiful smile. Proper dental hygiene is the best way to prevent gum disease. By following these steps and adhering to a routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing you should be well on your way to healthy gums and a beautiful smile.