To maintain healthy teeth while wearing braces and to reduce the possibility of decay, decalcifcation (white spots on the enamel between the bracket and the gums) and ginivitis (inflammation of the gums), please follow these recommendations:
- 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.
- 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.
- Minimize eating fermentable carbohydrates -mainly sugars. All candy is in this category as well as dried fruits. The bacteria that cause decay, decalcification and gingivitis utilize the fermentable carbohydrates as their food. The more fermentable carbohydrates in the mouth, the higher the bacterial count and the more likely problems could occur.
- Minimize drinking 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.