Dental Health With Orthodontics
Dental Health and Orthodontics, what’s involved? Do you or your children have braces? Those with orthodontic treatments are at greater risk for both cavities and periodontal disease during their treatment. When you have wires and brackets on the teeth, there are increased surfaces for food and bacteria to get trapped. We recommend flossing after every meal (if possible) or at LEAST once a day. We also recommend that you increase the number of routine cleanings each year to three (up from the standard twice a year). It’s important for us to help get rid of plaque build up and help to decrease inflammation around the teeth. It’s very common for periodontal (gum) disease to begin during orthodontic treatment. This swelling is usually temporary, and diminishes once the braces are removed. It’s important however, that you do your best to make this a temporary problem, and not a permanent one. How can you? Here are some tips:
1) Eliminate chewing gum and sticky candies (yes-get rid of all that Halloween candy!!!): gum can get stuck on brackets and wires and cause them to pull out of shape. Candy releases sugars that have added spaces to now stick to with your braces in the mouth. These additional surfaces allow the sugars to remain longer on the teeth, and the acids in these foods can cause the wearing away of enamel, and lead to tooth decay.
2) Eat a lot of anti-inflammatory foods: because your gums are inflamed due to increased irritation from your braces, you should consume a diet that is high in antioxidants to fight inflammation. This includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains (the real whole grains, not the ones with a box that says “contains whole grains”, and legumes (beans, lentils, etc).
3) Avoid juices-juices are HIGH in sugars. Yes, even natural sugars can remain on the teeth and lead to gum disease, inflammation, and many other issues.
4) Eat unprocessed foods-foods that have been processed have hidden sugars. Ex, granola bars, pretzels, chips, even commercially prepared tomato sauces! Looking for recipes-check out our plant-based food blog www.gardenfreshfoodie.com
5) Use an Electronic Toothbrush: Helps to brush more evenly and helps prevent the buildup of plaque much better than a standard toothbrush. The circulating motion of the brush also helps with getting into spaces and has more power than you would have when brushing. We recommend the Oral B electric toothbrush, which we sell in our office at Altman Dental. They come in a great kit! We sell them for less money than you can get them elsewhere, along with a rebate. We offer this as a service to our patients.
6) Use a Water Pick: This device shoots water in between the spaces of the teeth. The pressure of the water helps to remove stubborn debris and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay, much like flossing does, but with more power.
Give us a call if you have concern about periodontal issues with your orthodontic treatment. It’s important to keep us a part of your overall treatment, since we want that smile to be beautiful when you take your braces off!