At Sturgill Orthodontics, we tell everyone who will listen (and even those who won’t) about oral hygiene. That’s why you see such stunning smiles around Johnson City and Norton. Today, Dr. Sturgill, Dr. Williams, and Dr. Harper want you to know how to maintain good oral health with orthodontic treatment.
Essential Oral Care Practices
Maintaining optimal oral health during orthodontic treatment requires a disciplined approach to daily hygiene practices. At Sturgill Orthodontics, we emphasize the importance of these routines to all our patients.
Brushing your teeth is a fundamental yet crucial aspect of oral care. Our team recommends brushing at least twice a day when undergoing orthodontic treatment. Brushing two times a day helps remove food particles. It’s a good idea for everyone to brush twice daily. But for folks with braces or aligners, it’s even more important. Why? Food can get stuck in your braces or aligners. Failure to do so can lead to plaque buildup and, eventually, tooth decay.
Flossing can be challenging with braces. But it remains an indispensable part of your oral hygiene regimen. Specialized orthodontic flossers are available. These flossers can fit between the wires and brackets. Flossing helps to clean the areas between your teeth that are not easily accessible by a toothbrush.
Adding an antiseptic mouthwash into your daily routine provides additional protection. Mouthwash can reach areas that even flossing might miss. It also helps in killing bacteria and preventing plaque.
Foods to Avoid
Orthodontic treatment often requires dietary adjustments to protect your appliances and maintain oral health. At Sturgill Orthodontics, we provide you with helpful guidelines on foods that should be avoided during treatment.
Sugary Foods and Drinks
High sugar content in foods and beverages can lead to plaque formation and tooth decay. Sugar can become trapped around brackets and wires. If you have braces, limit your sugary snacks and soda intake to reduce this risk.
Foods that require lots of bite force can damage orthodontic appliances. Items like raw carrots, nuts, and hard candies can bend or break wires and even dislodge brackets. Opt for softer alternatives or cut hard foods into smaller, manageable pieces.
Sticky and Chewy Foods
Sticky foods like caramel, taffy, and certain types of gum can cling to your braces and become difficult to remove. This risks damaging your appliances and creates areas where bacteria can thrive.
Acidic Foods and Beverages
Acidic items like citrus fruits and certain beverages can erode your tooth enamel. This is especially problematic during orthodontic treatment. Why? Weakened enamel is more susceptible to decay.
Though it may seem harmless, popcorn can be a tricky food. The kernels can get stuck in your brace. And unpopped kernels can cause damage if bitten.
Regular Orthodontic Check-Ups
Consistency in attending your orthodontic appointments is a cornerstone of successful treatment. At Sturgill Orthodontics, our team stresses the importance of regular check-ups for several reasons.
Adjustments and Evaluations
Orthodontic appliances, whether braces or aligners, require periodic adjustments. We typically schedule these adjustments every six to eight weeks. Adjustments are crucial for tracking your treatment progress.
Early Identification of Issues
Regular appointments allow Dr. Sturgill, Dr. Williams, and Dr. Harper to identify and address potential problems early on. This proactive approach can prevent minor issues from escalating into significant complications. If we don’t fix small problems early on, you might unintentionally extend the duration of your treatment.
Oral Health Assessment
In addition to making adjustments, your visits provide an opportunity for a comprehensive oral health assessment. We will examine your teeth and gums for signs of plaque, decay, or gum disease. Ailments like these are more challenging to manage with orthodontic appliances in place.
Some appointments may include a professional cleaning to remove plaque or tartar accumulated around your braces or aligners. This is an added measure to maintain optimal oral health during your treatment.
While brushing, flossing, and regular check-ups form the core of oral care during orthodontic treatment, there are additional precautions that can further safeguard your oral health. At Sturgill Orthodontics, we recommend the following:
Carrying a travel toothbrush allows you to clean your teeth after meals while away from home. This is especially useful for busy people who may only sometimes have immediate access to their home bathroom.
Oral Hygiene Reminders
Setting reminders on your phone can be an effective way to ensure you complete your oral care routine. Consistency is key. And reminders can help you maintain that consistency.
Orthodontic appliances can sometimes cause irritation to the cheeks and lips. You’ll notice this most after we install or adjust your appliances. Dental wax can be applied to the offending areas to reduce discomfort and prevent sores.
We offer custom-fitted night guards for patients who grind their teeth at night. Night guards can protect your teeth and orthodontic appliances from unnecessary wear and tear.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Orthodontic treatment is a significant investment in oral health, and avoiding common mistakes can help ensure its success. At Sturgill Orthodontics, we’ve identified several pitfalls that can hinder your treatment progress.
Inconsistent Oral Care
Skipping your daily brushing and flossing routine can result in plaque buildup. Plus, there is potential for tooth decay. Consistency in oral care is crucial. Even more so when undergoing orthodontic treatment.
You must attend your scheduled orthodontic check-ups to ensure your treatment runs on schedule. Your appointments are essential for making necessary adjustments and assessing your oral health.
Some patients attempt to adjust their braces or aligners at home, which can cause damage and lead to further issues. Always consult our team for any adjustments or concerns you may have.
While some discomfort is normal, don’t ignore persistent pain. It could be a sign of a problem that needs immediate attention.
Enrich Your Oral Health With Sturgill Orthodontics
Dr. Sturgill, Dr. Williams, and Dr. Harper want you to enrich your oral health. The Sturgill Orthodontics team has Johnson City and Norton offices to help you do that. Visit us here to schedule your free consultation.