Dental Health Before, After, and During Braces

Girl brushing her braces

How much you take care of your dental health makes a major impact on your overall health. Over 64 million American adults have gum disease and millions more have tooth decay. A time where oral health problems are common is during braces. The teeth are harder to clean, and food gets stuck in orthodontic appliances easier. If you have good dental health before braces, you are more likely to have good dental health during your time with them and afterwards. Find out how you should be taking care of your dental health to keep your teeth strong and healthy for years to come!

 

Dental Health Before Braces

Did you know that a child should be seeing a dentist when they are still a baby? If your child has teeth (even one), they need to be seeing a dentist. Parents will have to brush their child’s teeth when they are infants and for several years as they grow. When children are around 3 or 4, they start developing the dexterity to hold toothbrushes and to floss correctly. As your child grows, start them off early on taking care of their dental health. This is especially important for children, as their baby teeth are much more susceptible to tooth decay. Children should be brushing and flossing their teeth daily. Brush for 2 minutes at least twice a day. Once the teeth come together more, flossing should start.

 

The same guidelines go for adults. The American Dental Association recommends that every person brush their teeth at least twice a day. You can brush after every meal or as often as you need to in order to reduce your risk for tooth decay even more. Make sure you and your child brush with a soft-bristled brush that is a size that is comfortable for your mouth. Floss every day or several times a day if you can. These habits are so basic, but overlooked by many. That is why gum disease affects more than 64 million Americans. Tooth decay affects even more because these basic dental health guidelines aren’t followed.

 

photo with a toothbrush, retainers, toothpaste and a proxabrush

Your Time with Braces

Ideally, you want to have dental health habits established as soon as possible. That way, your child is more likely to brush and floss when they have braces. This is a time when the teeth are much harder to clean and cavities are much more common. Metal braces are the most common type of braces, but they are food traps. If you have ceramic, lingual or metal braces, you will need to spend extra time cleaning your teeth meticulously every day. Some tips for that cleaning include:

  • Clean each tooth with a bracket by brushing back and forth, then at different angles. Brush teeth down from the top, then up from the bottom to dislodge food.
  • Use a floss threader or threadable floss. You will thread the floss through the spaces between your teeth much like you are sewing. This will allow floss to go under the archwire. Flossing is usually the first thing children stop doing because they don’t want to take the time to do it. However, it only takes a few minutes of your time and can help you avoid cavities.
  • Use a proxabrush to brush brackets. This looks like a Christmas Tree brush and can dislodge stuck food with just a few strokes.
  • Use a waterpik. This is a tool that shoots water, which can further help dislodge food from brackets and in between teeth.

When it comes to cleaning your braces, it doesn’t take much time, but it’s something you must do each day, several times a day. Patients who take care of their dental health during those months with braces can expect to have a beautiful straight smile once the braces come off. Those who don’t can end up with cavities, areas of tooth erosion and demineralization and parts where the tooth has cratered.

 

girl having her oral health checked by a dentist

Don’t Forget Dental Visits

Whether you are preparing to receive braces or you have had them off for years, one of the things that should stay constant with your dental health is visits to the dentist. Every patient should see the dentist twice a year for comprehensive examinations and dental cleanings. Babies should be seen by a dentist within the first 6 months of getting their first tooth. This is an appointment that is 1 hour or less, twice a year. There are 8760 hours in a year. We believe every patient can spare 2 of them to come see us.

 

During your comprehensive exam, we examine every individual tooth as well as your cheeks, gums, tongue, throat and more. We perform an oral cancer screening to check for abnormalities. This screening can save many lives and it only takes a few minutes. The comprehensive exam is generally combined with the dental cleaning. This is when one of our hygienists cleans, brushes, flosses and polishes each individual tooth. They check bite, chewing, and swallowing patterns with the dentist and remove tartar and other stuck-on minerals.

 

Great Dental Health for Life

It’s not hard to have great dental health. See the dentist twice a year and brush and floss your teeth. With braces, all that is different is the method you clean and how much time it takes. However, the more you clean your teeth with braces, the quicker and more efficient you will get. Whether you are preparing for braces, you have them, or haven’t had them for years, taking care of your dental health is easy. If you need help or have questions about your dental health with braces, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies today at (970) 223-8425!

 

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