An increasingly large number of people are getting braces each day. The LA Times reported: “between 1982 and 2008, the number of people getting braces in the U.S. leaped a whopping 99%, according to the American Association of Orthodontics.” These statistics are impressive, and they suggest that an ever-increasing number of Americans are taking the health and appearance of their teeth seriously.
At Dr. Cindy Flanagan’s Houston dental practice, we’re thrilled by these figures. Orthodontia truly can work wonders for your smile. Unfortunately, as an experienced dental team, we also know braces can make dental hygiene difficult to manage for patients. The goal of braces is to improve your oral well-being and look, so you shouldn’t have to sacrifice cleanliness in the pursuit of a straighter smile. In the following blog, Dr. Flanagan provides her tips for teeth cleaning with braces and explains why the innovative Invisalign® system may be the best solution.
The Barriers of Braces
Brushing and flossing your teeth on a daily basis is crucial to keep them clean and healthy. Particulate matter and residue from food can build up a sticky, bacteria-filled substance called plaque. If left on your teeth, plaque can cause cavities, infections, and other oral health issues. The issue with traditional, bracketed braces is that they cover a large portion of the tooth, making the enamel inaccessible for cleaning. Furthermore, the metal wires connecting the brackets make flossing (which is the only way to remove plaque from between the teeth and under the gums) a much more tedious and seemingly impossible task. In short, braces serve as a notable barrier to dental hygiene.
Dental Hygiene with Braces: Our Guide
Of course, if you do have braces, you shouldn’t give up all hope for good oral hygiene. You can make the most of your dental health, even with braces, by:
- Swishing with water or mouthwash regularly. These can reach beneath the metal and help dislodge stuck food particles.
- Brushing your teeth from multiple angles to get under and behind the brackets.
- Using toothpicks to remove plaque and food debris from beneath the gum lines.
- Purchasing special orthodontic flossing tools to help you access the areas between your teeth.
- Brushing and flossing thoroughly and more frequently. For example, the typical patient should brush at least twice per day and floss at least once. Those with braces may benefit from brushing after every meal if possible and flossing twice per day.
With these techniques, you can better clean those hard-to-reach areas and keep your mouth clean. Dr. Flanagan can teach you further strategies at your biannual preventive care appointment.
The State-of-the-Art Solution
In many cases, the best possible solution might be braces without brackets. One of the many reasons patients love our Invisalign® treatment system is that its clear, customized aligners are removable. While you will need to wear them for most of every day, you can easily take them out to eat, drink, and clean your teeth. This means you can brush and floss just like usual without any added hassle or worry. Invisalign® allows our patients to keep up outstanding oral hygiene routines while correcting crookedness.
Do You Want a Straighter, Cleaner Smile?
Dr. Flanagan and our team can help! Whether you need assistance with overcoming bracketed braces, hygienic barriers, or you’re simply ready to enjoy the advantages of Invisalign®, we’d be delighted to assist you. Contact our Houston dental practice today to find out more and schedule an appointment with Dr. Flanagan.