Every October is National Orthodontic Health Month, a time to learn more about the benefits of orthodontics, particularly when it comes to oral health.
When the majority of our Austin and Georgetown patients think of orthodontic treatments, like braces or aligners, they focus on the aesthetic value of having straighter teeth. While corrected crooked teeth can certainly make you more confident in your smile, orthodontic treatments also do more than that.
Braces or aligners can correct bite issues by fixing misalignments of the teeth and jaw. This makes it easier for you to chew, bite, and even speak. Plus, crooked teeth can be harder to clean, increasing your chances of developing cavities, gum disease, or other oral health problems.
When you get braces or aligners, caring for your dental appliances is also essential to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. Luckily, there are a variety of products that your Austin or Georgetown dentist can recommend that can make that job easy. If you aren’t sure what are the must-haves for carrying for braces and aligners, here’s what you need to know.
The Basics: Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Floss
If you want to keep your braces and aligners clean, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss provide a solid foundation. Brushing your teeth helps remove food particles and plaque from the surface of your teeth and your braces, while floss removes debris from the spaces between your teeth. If you use an aligner, brushing it with toothpaste also removes particles from the aligner itself, ensuring they don’t end up pressed against the surface of your tooth.
Since braces and aligners make it easier for food particles to stay trapped against your tooth surfaces, brushing and flossing are essential. To make flossing easier if you are wearing braces, either invest in some floss threaders or find specialty floss with stiff ends. This allows you to use the floss near the gum line since you can guide if between your teeth even with the wire in place.
When you have braces, interproximal brushes can be a lifesaver. These mini-toothbrushes can easily clean around brackets and under archwires, allowing you to ensure that no food or plaque gets trapped in hard to reach areas. Plus, if you have gaps between your teeth when you start treatment, these brushes can be used to clean there too.
If you use aligners to straighten your teeth, denture tabs are a must have. You can soak your aligner in the cleaning solution, ensuring all lingering food particles and plaque are removed. After a good soak, you can use a toothbrush to remove any loosened debris before rinsing the aligner.
By soaking your aligner daily, such as during meal time at home, you can keep your orthodontic appliance clean and fresh.
By investing in the must-haves above, you can be fully prepared to care for your teeth, braces, and aligners.