Top Tips for Oral Health During Orthodontic Treatment

Your oral health is crucial to getting the smile of your dreams. Without proper oral maintenance during treatment, you risk tooth decay, infection, and other complications that could cause long-lasting or permanent damage to your smile! 

We know you’ve been upholding your oral health before and during treatment, but we put together this list of things you can do to elevate your routine and increase your chances of achieving the smile you dream of.

Check out Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics’ top tips below!

Attend Your Dental Appointments!

It might sound weird for us, an oral healthcare group, to recommend you see another oral healthcare professional. But the truth is, it’s not! It’s similar to how if you have a neurologist, they would still recommend you attend regular check-ups with your primary physician. Though neurologists and primary physicians have some similar training, they do not provide the same services.

It’s the same with our orthodontists and your dentist! Though they both attend dental school, they have different specialties, and sometimes you need both to maintain oral health. Orthodontists specialize in aligning the teeth and jaw, and dentists focus on mouth health. 

When you are a patient at Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics, we strongly encourage you to have regular check-ups with your dentist. At these appointments, a dental hygienist will professionally clean, photograph, X-ray, and document your mouth. After, your dentist will inspect your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, sensitivity, cancer, and other issues. If necessary, they will set up a treatment plan with you or refer you to a specialist, such as an orthodontist or periodontist. 

Attending check-up appointments as frequently recommended by your dentist is crucial to your oral health because it allows you and your dental team to find and treat concerns before they can cause permanent or long-lasting side effects. 

Invest In Good Oral Hygiene Tools.

Many believe that oral hygiene tools that cost more are money grabs by companies or attempts to get you to buy something you don’t need. However, your oral hygiene tools play a big role in the effectiveness of your regimen. 

When you are an orthodontic patient, your teeth are covered by orthodontic equipment all or most of the day, giving ample time for bacteria to grow and providing plenty of hiding spaces for them to thrive without being noticed. Quality tools reduce this risk and keep your mouth healthy. At Cowan & Whitaker, we believe you should invest in those “fancy” tools. Let’s look a few upgrades we suggest for our patients.

  1. A Good Toothbrush. — An automatic toothbrush with a timer and pressure sensor is a terrific investment. The two features prevent over brushing and under-brushing. Over Brushing can strip the enamel and push the gum line down. Under-brushing leaves behind bacteria and germs that will eat away at the enamel. No matter how your enamel becomes weakened, if the protective covering isn’t up to par, it leaves your teeth and gums vulnerable to threats.
  2. Water flosser. — A water flosser is a machine that uses jets of water to rid the mouth of stubborn residue that could be left behind by traditional brushing and flossing. They are also perfect for cleaning all the hard-to-reach places created by overcrowding or bonded appliances.
  3. Interproximal/Interdental Brush. — The small brush can fit between the teeth and brackets of your braces. It is excellent for when you are on the go and can’t use a water flosser or don’t have time to floss.

It is important to note that you should use water flossers and interproximal brushes in addition to thread floss, and not as a replacement. An exception could be made if you find thread floss challenging or inaccessible for you. Before switching, speak to Dr. Cowan, Dr. Whitaker, or your dentist. 

Be Picky About Your Oral Hygiene Products.

The toothpaste and mouthwash you use in your routine are just as important as your oral hygiene tools! While which specific product is best for you depends on your needs, goals, and lifestyle, we advise all of our orthodontic patients to check their products for the following three things:

  1. Not too harsh! Strong chemicals can damage and cause discoloration to your teeth and orthodontic appliances. 
  2. Fluoride! Fluoride! Fluoride! Did we mention you should use products with fluoride? Fluoride is a naturally made substance already found in your bones! It helps strengthen the enamel and can even reverse the beginnings of cavities. Ask your dentist or one of our orthodontists how much fluoride you need in your routine before incorporating it because how much a person needs varies. 
  3. No Whitening Agents! If you wear bonded appliances, your teeth are covered 24/7. If you try to use whitening products, the whitening chemicals won’t be able to reach all parts of your teeth. That means your teeth will be different colors when your appliances are removed! Unfortunately, returning the teeth to one color can be time-consuming and frustrating. We know you want beautiful white teeth, and we would be more than happy to aid you in getting those pearly whites once active treatment ends.

Don’t Forget To Clean Your Aligners.

Treatment with clear aligners involves using multiple sets of trays. Each set moves the teeth a little more and is worn for only one to two weeks. Because each tray is used for a short period, some believe they don’t need to be cleaned, but that’s not true! You should still wash your trays every day!

Clear aligners spend twenty-two hours a day in your mouth, and they can develop the same bacteria and plaque as your teeth can. Cleaning your teeth but not the aligners allows the germs to swap back and forth. Unclean trays also have a foul taste and smell, which is not inviting or encouraging to wear for hours daily.

When you receive your clear aligners, ask Dr. Cowan or Dr. Whitaker for specific care instructions and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about their care!

Top Tips for Oral Health During Orthodontic Treatment

Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics Can Remove All Guesswork!

Orthodontic care can be confusing when you are not an orthodontic patient, and becoming one can make it even more so, but it doesn’t have to be. Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics has everything necessary for your experience to be as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.
To make an appointment and receive personalized guidance, contact our office or click here to book a free consultation. We look forward to providing you and your family with quality orthodontic care and stunning smiles.