Sometimes we notice that your braces have an excessive plaque accumulation. This is a problem because it means that you are at high risk for the possibility of decay, decalcification (white spots on the enamel between the bracket and the gums) and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). However, the good news is that all three can be minimized if you follow these recommendations:
1. The best preventive measure is excellent oral hygiene. This includes brushing with a fluoride toothpaste for at least three minutes after breakfast and before going to bed (play a CD track and dance around the room or use an egg timer while brushing). We recommend Colgate Total toothpaste because of its new antibacterial ingredient. The use of a travel toothbrush after lunch is also encouraged (toothpaste is not necessarily needed). After brushing, look at your braces closely in the mirror to make sure all food debris and plaque (whitish material around the braces, under the wires and between the braces and the gums) has been totally removed. The braces should look like silver polish has just shined them. If you can not see the back braces well, have someone check it for you (a small flashlight is helpful). A basic part of oral hygiene is flossing. We will show you how to floss around your braces as well as how to brush your braces properly. We encourage you to floss at least once each day. Please ask us for any needed help in reaching difficult areas.
2. WE RECOMMEND THE USE OF PERIOGUARD FOR 14 DAYS. We sometimes prescribe PERIOGUARD, which will eliminate the bad bacteria that contribute to decay, decalcification and gingivitis. Rinse your mouth out with the PERIOGUARD after brushing your teeth. PERIOGUARD can slightly stain your teeth but the staining can be quickly polished off and is definitely not permanent.
3. Fluoride is a very important part of the prevention process. Fluoride will attach to any weakened enamel and strengthen it. Based on recent research, we are recommending that after brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and rinsing with water before going to bed, rebrush your teeth again with the fluoride toothpaste. You may spit the extra toothpaste out, but do not rinse with water. The idea is to LEAVE A SMALL AMOUNT OF FLUORIDE TOOTHPASTE ON YOUR TEETH AT NIGHT. This nightly light fluoride treatment will definitely help prevent decay, decalcification and gingivitis.
4. Avoid all fermentable carbohydrates - mainly sugars. All candy is in this
category, especially the sticky and chewy kind, as well as dried fruits. The
bacteria that cause decay, decalcification and gingivitis utilize the
fermentable carbohydrates as their food. The fewer fermentable carbohydrates in
the mouth, the lower the bacterial count and the less likely problems could
5. Eliminate drinking carbonated soft drinks. There is evidence that the acid from carbonated soft drinks contributes to the breakdown of the enamel if multiple soft drinks are ingested each day. Dr. Pepper and the colas seem to be the worst.
The rewards of braces straight teeth, a beautiful smile and a healthy mouth are achievable goals for all our patients. We need your help to make sure the teeth and the gums are also bright, shiny and healthy at the completion of treatment.