Maintaining Oral Hygiene During Orthodontic Treatment: Tips and Tricks

Posted by On 14-05-2024

Orthodontic treatments are the secret to a straighter, more symmetrical, and more attractive smile. Invisalign and traditional braces are the most common treatment options. These methods use gradual and consistent pressure to guide teeth into the proper positions.

Whichever treatment option you choose, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene. This helps to prevent oral health issues like tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis. Your risk of developing these conditions increases during orthodontic treatment because orthodontic devices can trap food particles against your teeth.

You also need to follow additional steps to keep your teeth and orthodontic device clean.

Maintaining Oral Hygiene With Invisalign

1. Brush and floss your teeth first

You have to remove your Invisalign aligners every time you eat or drink something besides water. However, you need to brush and floss your teeth before you can put your aligners back in.

Otherwise, food particles get trapped between your teeth and your aligners. Since saliva can’t wash it away, this debris remains pressed against your teeth for hours at a time. This can lead to cavities and tooth decay.

Consequently, you should keep a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss kit with you wherever you go. If you forget, rinse your mouth with water to wash away some lingering food particles. Still, this is not as effective as brushing!

2. Keep your trays clean

It’s very important to keep your Invisalign aligners clean. Otherwise, plaque and bacteria build up on the trays. When you put the trays back in, all that plaque and bacteria are transferred to your mouth.

Follow these steps to keep your Invisaligns clean:

  • Soak them for three minutes at least once a day using an Invisalign cleaning product. Brush the trays with a soft-bristled toothbrush after soaking.
  • Brush your trays every morning and evening with a separate soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle cleaning solution. This removes built-up bacteria, lingering food debris, and sugars that accumulate daily.
  • Rinse the trays with lukewarm water (not hot water) every time you remove them, before putting them back in. This helps minimize plaque accumulation.
  • Store your Invisalign aligners in their case to keep them clean and safe from bacteria. Leaving your trays in the open air exposes them to bacteria and germs.

3. Only drink water while wearing aligners

You can only drink water while wearing your Invisalign aligners. They have to be removed for any other kind of beverage! Not only does drinking juice, coffee, pop, or alcohol stain your aligners, but it’s also harmful to your oral health.

Whenever you take a drink with the aligners still in your mouth, some liquid seeps underneath the trays to come in contact with your teeth. Remember, your saliva cannot reach particles or sugars trapped between your teeth and aligners.

This residual sugar or acid from the beverage remains stuck against your teeth. The more sugary or acidic a drink is, the worse this is for your teeth.

Maintaining Oral Hygiene With Braces

1. Brush your teeth more frequently

Your teeth require extra care during your orthodontic treatment with braces. The brackets and wires can trap food and plaque against your teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay and gum problems. Furthermore, your precious tooth enamel can be permanently damaged if your teeth and brackets are not kept clean.

This means you have to brush your teeth more often and diligently than before getting traditional braces. You should brush your teeth at least three times a day, preferably after every meal. Additionally, you’ll have to replace toothbrushes more frequently since braces cause the bristles to wear down faster.

Follow these steps to best care for your teeth while wearing braces:

  • Remove elastics before brushing.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Brush each tooth for 10 seconds using small circular motions while positioning the bristles at a 45 degree angle.
  • Gently brush the braces so that the bristles spread into the gaps between the wire and tooth.

2. Get an interdental toothbrush

An interdental (or interproximal) brush is a small brush able to slip between the braces and teeth. This makes it a practical choice for cleaning teeth that are obstructed by an orthodontic device. It can also be used to loosen and remove food debris after meals and before brushing.

Note, interdental brushes should be used alongside normal brushing. It’s not a replacement for your soft-bristled toothbrush!

3. Use a water flosser

Just as an interdental toothbrush does not replace your standard soft-bristled toothbrush, neither does a water flosser replace your typical wax-thread floss. However, it is a great addition, especially during your orthodontic treatment.

A water flosser uses jets of water to dislodge persistent residuess, like bacteria, plaque, and food particles. It easily reaches every nook, cranny, and hard-to-reach place that could conceal unwanted debris. This helps to keep your teeth clean and healthy behind the brackets and wires.

Don’t forget to also floss once per day. You can use a floss threader (to remove plaque from hard-to-reach places) or traditional wax floss (since it slides easily between your teeth).

4. Follow a braces-friendly diet

What you eat has a massive impact on your oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment. It’s vital that you adhere to a braces-friendly diet. This keeps your teeth healthy and prevents damage to your braces.

Hard, sticky, and crunchy foods must be avoided. These can loosen, break, or bend the wires and bands that make up your braces. If you break your braces, extra dental appointments will be required to fix the damage. This is inconvenient and extends your treatment time.

Do Not Miss Dental Appointments!

Whether you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment with Invisalign or traditional braces, it is imperative that you attend all your dental appointments. You need to visit your Milton dentist more often than you would otherwise.

Patients with Invisalign need to visit Milltown Dental every 4–6 weeks. During these appointments, your orthodontist checks to see if your treatment is progressing as planned. They can then make any necessary adjustments to your treatment.

Conversely, those wearing traditional braces need to visit us monthly so we can evaluate your progress. Your orthodontist will adjust, replace wires, or give you new rubber bands.

Orthodontic Treatment With Milltown Dental

Milltown Dental offers orthodontic treatments to our patients in Milton, Ontario. We specialise in traditional braces, as well as Invisalign clear aligners. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, Dr. Julie Boudreault will assess your teeth to determine the best treatment option for your mouth.

To learn more about Invisalign orthodontic treatment in Milton, call Milltown Dental at (833) 318-3281 or contact us here.

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  • Posted on 07-06-2024 by Suzain

    Great tips on maintaining oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment! For those seeking similar advice, visiting a dentist in Adelaide can provide personalized guidance and care. Local professionals can offer expert tips to ensure your teeth stay healthy throughout your orthodontic journey. Thanks for sharing!