At OC Smile Dental & Orthodontics, we encourage patients to establish a program of preventative dental care early in their lives. The best way to solve a dental problem is to prevent it in the first place by maintaining proper oral hygiene. That means brushing and flossing 2-3 times per day in a circular motion. We recommend brushing your teeth for at least two minutes. Try timing yourself. There’s a good chance you’re not brushing nearly long enough. We always say, prevention is the best practice.
Patients wearing braces need to be especially vigilant when it comes to keeping their braces, teeth and gums clean. By following our orthodontist’s instructions on oral hygiene and avoiding certain food, you can maintain healthy teeth and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. Plaque is your enemy. If plaque is left on your teeth, around the braces, you can develop swollen gums, bad breath, scarred & discolored teeth, even cavities. Here are some best practices for maintaining excellent oral hygiene while in braces:
Caring for your Retainer
Retainers, just like your teeth collect plaque, bacteria and food particles. You should clean your retainer every day! Keep your retainer soaking when it is not in your mouth. Use a mouthwash rinse to freshen it up and keep it free of bacteria. Keep your retainer away from heat; the plastic can crack if it gets too dry or too hot. Try not to bend the wires: flipping your retainer in your mouth can do this.
Foods to Avoid
Patients should avoid foods that are sticky, hard or chewy. They should also avoid any food and drink that are known to cause cavities. Patients should brush, floss and rinse their mouth regularly between meals.
These foods are known to cause breakage of orthodontic appliances and are examples of what NOT to eat:
Hard or sticky candy
Crispy taco shells
Brushing with Braces
As time goes by, your teeth can gradually turn from white to yellow in color. The yellowing process may be a result from the foods in your diet, because of smoking, or simply due to the nature of growing older. When a child’s teeth first “erupt,” or come in, they appear a brilliant white, which is why people typically associate gleaming white teeth with looking younger.
If you want to reclaim a brilliant white smile, come into OC Smile and ask about our teeth whitening treatments. It’s true that area drugstores sell many over-the-counter teeth whitening products, but professional teeth whitening by professionals at Smile wide is a superior option. Our treatments are:
Flossing with Braces
Flossing with braces is a bit on the tricky side, so it may take a few minutes to perfect. But don’t give up, flossing is very important to the health of your teeth.
The water jet is an effective tool to remove plaque and debris lodged deep between the teeth and around braces. The water jet shoots a pulsing stream of water that dislodges remaining food particles. Adding an antiseptic dental rinse to the water is recommended. Use the water jet after your regular brushing and flossing routine.
The interdental brush is especially good in cleaning the tooth surface next to the braces.
An antiseptic dental rinse should be used after every meal (at least 4 times a day) to control minor gum inflammation and irritation that might arise from orthodontic treatment. A fluoride rinse may help prevent tooth decay by killing harmful bacteria and replenishing minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to harmful acids. Rinsing does not replace brushing. You should rinse after brushing and flossing.
Life with Braces
Your braces will be attached quickly and easily to your teeth, but a full day is necessary for the bands to completely affix. It is a good idea to wait several hours after getting braces before eating solid food. You may find it easier to eat soft foods for the first couple of days while you are becoming accustomed to eating with your new braces.
The braces may feel a little awkward at first and the teeth may be tender or sensitive to pressure. This is completely normal and will go away soon. It may feel as though the braces are “sticking out,” but this sensation will also soon pass. Small pieces of orthodontic wax may be used if the brackets irritate cheek tissues. Our office always has extra wax in case you run out so call us if you need more.
Many patients will experience some discomfort at first, but the soreness will go away within the first few days or even hours of getting braces. It is impossible to predict exactly when the tenderness will end. Some patients choose to take over the counter pain relievers the first day of treatment to lessen the discomfort. To ensure the best result take the medications before your appointment.
Smile Steps for Kids
6 steps to Super Smiles: Dental Care for School Age Children
Step 1: Good Home Dental Care
It is very important for parents to be involved in their child’s dental hygiene routine. Establish a healthy diet, daily tooth brushing and flossing as well as regular dental visits. Steps taken now will help build a lifetime of good oral health habits, so help by supervising your child’s brushing and flossing.
Step 2: Flouride
Use toothpaste with fluoride to prevent tooth decay and cure cavities in their early staged. Our pediatric dentist can advise parents of fluoride supplement sources if needed and the age to begin fluoridated toothpaste.
Step 3: Sealants
Most cavities occur in places that a sealant could have protected. By sealing surfaces at risk, cavities and tooth decay in children and teens can be drastically reduced. The teeth at most risk of decay and therefore most in need of sealants are the six-year and twelve-year permanent molars.
Step 4: Mouth Protectors in Sports
Wearing a mouthguard when playing a sport protects the teeth and can reduce the force of a blow that can cause concussions, neck injuries and jaw fractures.
Step 5: Regular Dental Visits
It is essential for your child to receive an on-going oral health assessment by our pediatric dentist. Your child may need additional fluoride, sealants or dietary modifications. Regular visits will also help children stay cavity free by removing plaque build-up on the teeth.
Step 6: Limited Snacking
Healthy snacking in moderation plays an important role in oral health. Snacking should be limited to no more than three or four times a day. Encourage nutritious choices such as cheese, vegetables and yogurt.