Straightening up: caring for your teeth during and after orthodontia

Taking Special Care of Your Teeth

Straightening teeth with the use of braces and retainers isn’t only about improving your smile. In fact, straightening teeth can lead to a healthier mouth. One reason? Crooked and crowded teeth can make it hard to brush and floss thoroughly, which can lead to cavities and gum disease.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is particularly important when you have braces.Skipping brushing or flossing can cause the enamel around the brackets to become stained or cause white spots. And if plaque — a naturally occurring film of bacteria that forms on teeth — isn’t removed, it can cause cavities. Here’s how to care for your teeth when you have orthodontia:

  • Brush your teeth gently after every meal. Food particles and plaque can get trapped more easily when you have braces. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

  • Floss between braces and under wires daily.

  • Schedule a dental cleaning every six months to keep gums and teeth healthy.

  • Use a toothbrush to clean your retainer before placing it in your mouth. Your orthodontist may also suggest soaking it in a cleansing solution.

Braces help straighten teeth, and a retainer, which is usually removable, is worn after braces are taken off. It’s easy to get lazy about wearing your retainer. But it’s extremely important to do so since it helps hold teeth in their new positions.



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