Happy October! For those who don’t know, it’s National Orthodontic Health Month.

By October 23, 2012Orthodontics

This is a great opportunity for us to remind everyone about the importance of oral hygiene. Keeping your teeth and orthodontic appliances clean isn’t only important for your oral health, but will also ensure that your orthodontic tooth movements don’t get bogged down with all the excess food and plaque left on your teeth. It’s true. Clean teeth move faster than dirty teeth.

Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever when you have braces! Food bits have more spots than usual to hide in your mouth, so you must be diligent in order to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, discolored teeth and cavities. If you remove plaque regularly during treatment, you’ll experience better results and shorter treatment time. Keep plaque at bay with these top ten tips:

1. One tooth at a time. We’ve all the heard the turtle and rabbit (hare) story. If you haven’t, here’s the spoiler – the turtle wins the race, because he works slowly and diligently. The same principles apply here. When you brush, take time with each individual tooth – at least 10 seconds each – and pay careful attention to the spots where your teeth touch your braces.

2. It’s all about the angles. Ok this is not trigonometry class. However, brushing the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down toward where they meet. Brush the bottoms of your teeth and braces with your brush angled up.

3. The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but the tooth. When we discuss this point, we usually see some light bulb moments happening. Don’t fret, while the front surface of your teeth may seem like the most logical to clean, it’s equally important to clean the inner surface of your teeth (tongue side) as well as the chewing surface. And be sure to clean along your gum line – a key spot for plaque buildup.

4. Step 1: eat, step 2: clean. This may seem cumbersome – but the benefits will outlast all this time you are investing. While you’re in treatment, it’s important to brush after every meal. Bits of food can easily get caught between braces and teeth, and these food bits interact with bacteria in your mouth to cause decay. The longer food is in contact with your teeth, the greater opportunity for plaque to form. If you are eating somewhere that you can’t brush, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.

5. Like James Bond, always be prepared. Yes, we just referred to James Bond. Just like Bond, there are tools and gadgets every 007 agent needs. The easiest way to be sure you can brush after every meal is to get in the habit of taking a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you wherever you go. Designate a special container just for your teeth-cleaning tools and keep it in your purse, backpack, or laptop case.

6. Remove the moving parts. Sometimes reminding of the simplest things is needed. If you have elastic bands or headgear, remove these parts before you brush or floss.

7. Fluoride is your friend. Fluoride helps prevent cavities. Be sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste, and rinse with fluoride mouthwash.

8. Pointy brushes reach tiny places. Interproximal brushes (sometimes called proxa brushes or interdental brushes) are cone-shaped and come in very handy for reaching spots around your braces that standard brushes can’t.

9. Find the floss for you. Regular floss works for some patients, but others find it easier to work with a floss threader, which helps you get the floss into tight places.

10. Make time for the pros. It’s your job to take care of the everyday cleaning. But make sure to visit your dentist regularly while in treatment, to get the deep, thorough cleaning that only a professional can provide. If you need help finding the right Dentist for you, feel free to contact our office – we’d love to help!

We hope this helps, and remember to give our team at Aura Orthodontics a call if you have a more detailed question.

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