Everyone at Strickland Orthodontics has a passion to help “Improve Life One Smile at a Time.” A huge part of improving a patient’s smile is to educate them on how to properly clean and care for their teeth. We strive to take advantage of the opportunity that we have and make sure every patient has the proper tools and resources to keep their teeth in tip-top shape during treatment and for the rest of their life!
Keeping your teeth clean during your orthodontic treatment will allow your teeth to move faster and make the process more comfortable! Sounds like a win-win! You will be rewarded with a healthy and beautiful smile that you will be able to enjoy for the rest of your life!
Making a commitment to your SMILE!
Orthodontic treatment brings you life long benefits, but during your treatment you need to make a commitment to yourself to ensure your outcome is the very best! Most importantly, you need to keep your teeth clean and maintain great oral hygiene during your care. This will take a little extra time, but the end result is more than worth it. We promise…your future smile will thank you!
Plaque Free is the Way to Be!
Plaque is a white sticky film that is formed on your teeth. It is made of food, bacteria and your saliva. If plaque is left around your teeth, it will cause many dental problems like swollen red gums, bad breath, white spots and even cavities! All of these negative side effects can be easily prevented by regularly cleaning your teeth to remove all of the plaque. Before we begin, and during your orthodontic care at Strickland Orthodontics, we teach you how to properly clean your teeth by brushing and flossing to ensure plaque is removed on a regular basis.
How often do I clean my teeth?
We encourage our patients to brush after every meal, but if you do not have the opportunity to brush, to at least rinse your mouth with water until you can brush. Carrying a small travel toothbrush helps make it easier to brush your teeth during the day at work or at school. It is not necessary to have toothpaste to clean your teeth during the day. Your goal is to make sure you remove the food and plaque from your teeth, which can be done with a travel brush and water.
We also encourage our patients to floss once a day. While it does take a little extra time and skill, you are not able to clean up to 30% of your teeth without flossing… EWWW!
Brushing your teeth during your orthodontic care will take a little extra time and there is a bit of learning but you will be keeping those pearly whites squeaky clean in no time. Below are a few helpful tips that will help you to keep your teeth clean:
Give yourself time. It will take you about 4 minutes to properly clean your teeth with braces on. Try not to wait until you are running out of the door or about to fall asleep at night before you brush your teeth.
Get up close and personal. An inexpensive makeup mirror can make all the difference! It is almost impossible to see plaque on your teeth in a mirror across a countertop. A makeup mirror will help you to make sure you are able to get all of your teeth spotless!
Water only please! Brushing your teeth with only water can actually make it easier to see where your brush is and how it is nestling into the crooks of your teeth and braces. This can be an excellent learning tool and then use toothpaste after the teeth are clean to get the benefits of the toothpaste.
Fluoride? Yes please! We encourage our patients to use a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse. Fluoride helps to make your teeth stronger and more resistant to tooth decay.
Teeth and gums. You need to clean all surfaces of your teeth and even your gums. The area between the braces and gums is the most common trouble spot and should be given extra attention!
After cleaning your teeth, closely examine your teeth and braces. Your gums should be pink but not red or puffy, and you should be able to clearly see the outline of each bracket.
Flossing is just as important
You can clean up to 30% of your teeth by flossing and it should be done at least once a day. Flossing will minimize the chance of getting cavities and will make your treatment more comfortable. We will give you many different tools and instruments that will help.
Complications of Poor Oral Hygiene
Keeping your teeth clean is a critical part of the success of your orthodontic treatment! Bacteria will stick to your teeth and if not cleaned off the bacteria will react with the sugar that you eat and drink to produce an acid. This acid will cause permanent damage by dissolving your teeth and cause gum disease. We monitor and score the cleanliness of your teeth at each appointment to make sure you are keeping your teeth clean and are here to help if you are having any trouble areas. Our goal is to ensure that our patients not only have a beautiful smile, but also a healthy Strickland Smile!!
Foods to Avoid
Hard foods will likely cause your braces to come off. This can cause you to have some discomfort and increase your total time in braces. Below is a good guide to let you know the type of foods to try to stay away from.
Sticky foods will likely stick to your braces or wires and cause a wire to become positioned incorrectly and provide discomfort. Limiting sticky foods will ensure that your braces stay comfortable and keep you smiling!
Sweet foods with a lot of sugar, especially drinks, will increase your chances of having white spots and cavities during your orthodontic treatment. Soft drinks are the most important sweet to try to avoid. We encourage our patients to try to only drink water or sugar free beverages between meals.