Brace Yourself

To Maintain Healthy, Pearly Whites During Orthodontic Treatment

by Dr. Jason Gladwell // July - August - September

Choosing to get braces means choosing to have a perfect smile. After spending your time and money on perfect teeth, the last thing you want is to have them ruined with stains and decay because of improper care. Wearing braces means you are more prone to dental problems such as gingivitis, tartar, and demineralization. Also, if proper hygiene is not maintained while wearing braces, it can prolong your treatment time.

Fortunately, there are simple steps that you can take to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy during this process, keeping you on the right path to a happy and healthy smile.

– Brush after every meal. Food and plaque can get trapped in the spaces between braces and wires, which can be very dangerous to the health of your teeth. Besides causing decay and enamel stains, food can react with the bacteria in your mouth and the metal of the braces to produce decalcification. This can lead to small, permanent light spots on your teeth. Besides brushing at home, carry a travel toothbrush so you can brush while at school or work.

– Floss at least twice a day. Flossing can be difficult while wearing braces, as the wires make it difficult to get in-between the teeth and floss properly. Luckily, a floss threader or water flosser makes the process much easier. Be sure to not only floss in-between teeth, but around the brackets and wires of the braces as well. Flossing regularly helps to ensure that all trapped food has been removed, greatly reducing your risk of decay and stains.

– Avoid sugary foods. Food and drinks high in sugars lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Harmful oral bacteria feed on the sugars you eat to create acids that destroy tooth enamel. Avoiding sugary foods helps to limit the amount of acid produced.

– Consider Invisalign. Invisalign is a great alternative for patients who have difficulty with oral hygiene or who are concerned about the possibility of staining. Invisalign aligners are just as effective as traditional braces, but have the benefit of being removable. Aligners should be worn for 22 hours a day and only removed when eating, brushing, and flossing. The custom-made, clear aligners, created for you – and only you – will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place.

A white and perfect smile is not something that happens overnight. Regularly following these simple tips to ensure your oral hygiene habits don’t fall by the wayside while wearing braces, and making some small positive changes in your daily and nightly routines, will help you work towards that healthy, happy smile of which you’ve always dreamed – not just for now, but for a lifetime.

If you are considering braces or Invisalign, contact an orthodontist for a consultation and take the first step towards a beautiful, confident smile.

Dr. Jason Gladwell

Owner of Gladwell Orthodontics, Board Certified Specialist in orthodontics, and the state's only Super Elite provider for Invisalign. Gladwell Orthodontics is located at 2824 Rogers Rd., Suite 200 in Wake Forest.