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Proper brushing techniques are the key to maintaining a healthy smile with braces. Read this blog to learn how interdental brushing can improve your oral health.
Orthodontic treatment can make it difficult for a patient to clean his or her teeth. This can lead to plaque build-up around the teeth, brackets, and wires. To counteract this, the orthodontist will give specific instructions on how to brush properly to prevent cavities, gum disease, and dental stains. In addition to using a traditional toothbrush, he may also recommend interdental brushing—another highly effective method for maintaining a healthy smile.
An interdental brush (IDB) is a small, specially designed brush used to clean between the teeth or brackets where a traditional toothbrush can’t reach. Those without braces use an interdental brush to clean between the teeth, but orthodontic patients also use them to clean around and between the brackets and wires on their teeth.
Read this blog to learn how to properly use an interdental brush and how interdental brushing is beneficial for people with braces.
How To Use an Interdental Brush
Before purchasing an IDB, be sure to ask your orthodontist which size will work best for your smile. Interdental brushes come in various sizes—correlated by color— to benefit all types of smiles.
Orthodontic patients should use the interdental brush one time per day after brushing with a traditional toothbrush.
To properly utilize an interdental brush, follow these instructions:
Move the appliance up and down on either side of the brackets
Pass the brush along the orthodontic wire when moving from one tooth to another, continuing to move it up and down
Rinse after each use
Replace the brush when it begins to look worn
The Benefits of Interdental Brushing
Aside from helping patients maintain good oral health, an interdental brush provides several benefits, especially when compared to dental floss.
The advantages of interdental brushing include:
Safe to use
Many times, orthodontists instruct patients on how to use dental floss to clean between their teeth and brackets. It can be a complicated process that many patients won’t give a second thought when they leave the orthodontist’s office.
IDBs offer all of the same advantages along with the simplicity of use. Patients with dexterity issues have a greater appreciation for this appliance because there are variations of the brush with a long, bent handle.
More Ways to Keep Your Mouth Healthy
Braces offer so many benefits and provide patients with beautiful smiles! However, braces also require proper care and responsibility. To ensure you have the best orthodontic experience, follow these guidelines:
Avoid chewy, crunchy, sticky, and hard food
Avoid foods that require biting into
Do eat soft foods like dairy, bread, grains, seafood, cooked vegetables, and fruits
Rinse with saltwater when you’re mouth feels tender or sore
Learn how to fix a loose wire
Utilize wax to relieve irritation
Wear a mouthguard
If you follow these tips, and other specific instructions from your orthodontist, you’re sure to have a great orthodontic experience. Along with having a beautiful smile at the end of treatment, you’ll also have a healthy one!
Contact Our Sacramento Orthodontists Today
At Markham Orthodontics, Dr. David Markham and Dr. Steven Scott provide excellent, gentle care to patients of all ages. Our goal is to help patients achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that they can’t wait to show off.
Two-phase orthodontics can be incredible beneficial for children with orthodontic issues. Learn more about the benefits of children’s braces in this blog.
The goal of first phase orthodontics is to help a child’s jaw develop properly. Second phase orthodontics focuses on creating a smile that’s beautiful and fully functional. This phase of treatment is typically characterized by braces because the child’s adult teeth have almost fully developed.
Second phase orthodontics is much simpler when a patient has previously undergone orthodontic care to correct any jawbone issues. However, many times braces are the first experience a preteen or teenager has with an orthodontist.
Continue reading to learn about the benefits of Phase II orthodontics.
The Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment for Adolescents
The preteen and teenage years are the most common time for second phase orthodontics to begin. When treatment starts early enough, it’s likely that the patient will have their braces off by the time high school begins or before his or her sophomore year of high school.
There are several benefits to completing phase one and two of orthodontic treatment by this time, including:
1. Improved oral health
Whether your child has crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth, braces will do more than just improve his or her appearance. Braces can help reduce the risk of developing oral health issues like tooth decay and gum disease.
Issues of malocclusion make it difficult for anyone to clean their teeth properly and effectively. This means that food and bacteria can easily be caught between the teeth and eat away at the dental enamel and/or soft tissues surrounding the teeth which often leads to cavities and gum disease.
When the teeth are perfectly aligned, brushing and flossing become easier and much more effective so the patient can avoid serious oral health problems.
2. Better overall health
Braces improve the patient’s bite which makes it easier for patients to properly chew their food. This helps with digestion issues because the food is being broken up into smaller pieces before it moves into the stomach.
Additionally, when the risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease is lessened, so are many overall health issues. Untreated gum disease has been linked to health problems like diabetes, heart disease, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and hormonal irregularities.
Though these health issues aren’t common in adolescents, parents can help their children avoid these health problems in the future.
3. Boost in self-esteem
Unfortunately, many preteens and teens struggle with low confidence. This can seem even more detrimental than the aforementioned issues because it affects their mental health and all other aspects of their lives.
When a student enters junior high and high school, there are so many opportunities for him or her that have never been available before. Clubs, sports, speech class, and other activities allow students to explore their interests and passions. Sadly, students who struggle with low self-esteem may never take these opportunities. In addition, poor self-confidence can impact a student’s ability to make friends.
It’s been proven that people with beautiful smiles are more assured and appear to be more likable, successful, and happy. Braces can help your child have the confidence he or she needs to try new things, find new passions, and achieve their goals.
Schedule an Initial Consultation
We know that all parents want the best for their children, and we believe that orthodontic treatment is one of the best things a parent can give!
What do you think of when you hear the word orthodontics? Many people envision preteens and teens with big smiles full of chunky metal brackets and wires. But did you know, children can begin orthodontic treatment as young as six years old? The American Dental Association recommends children visit an orthodontist by age seven. Depending on your child’s dental development, he may recommend children’s braces or other interceptive treatments, such as:
Braces on selected teeth
First phase orthodontics is also referred to as early intervention orthodontics. It is typically followed by a second stage of treatment when the child is older. Phase one typically makes phase two much shorter and less complicated.
Reasons for Children’s Braces
Kids need braces and other interceptive treatments for a wide variety of reasons. A pediatric dentist may be the first to notice that your child could need orthodontic treatment. He or she will recommend you visit an orthodontist who can decide if treatment is needed, when treatment is necessary, and which devices would be the most beneficial.
Though it may seem like children’s teeth are less important than their permanent teeth, they aren’t! Your child’s first set of teeth will directly affect how their adult teeth develop. Here are some reasons for children’s braces:
Many times, tooth and jaw problems are inherited, but they also occur as a result of an accident or a bad habit like thumb sucking.
Types of Children’s Braces
You may be surprised to hear that traditional metal braces aren’t the only orthodontic option for children. While traditional braces may be recommended, other options are available. Types of children’s braces include:
Ceramic: Instead of metal, brackets can be made from ceramic. This material is more discreet but not as strong as traditional braces.
Clear aligners: Invisalign® now makes aligners for children. Talk to your child’s orthodontist to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of this treatment.
Lingual: This braces option is secured to the back of the teeth, not the front, to be more discreet.
For children, traditional braces are often the best choice. They are extremely effective and require much less responsibility.
Remember, braces aren’t the only orthodontic treatment an orthodontist recommends. In fact, braces might not even be necessary. Talk to your child’s orthodontist about the pros and cons of all treatment options before deciding what’s best for your little one.
Benefits of First Phase Orthodontics
Choosing to treat your child’s dental problems early offers numerous potential benefits, including:
Positive jawbone growth
Improving the width of the top and bottom arches
Reduced need for extracting permanent teeth
Reduced or eliminated need for jaw surgery
Lower risk of trauma to jutted front teeth
Gains space for erupting teeth
Improves the position of first molars
Improved speech problems
Reduces risk of impacted permanent teeth
Shortens phase two treatment
Visit an Experienced Orthodontist
If your pediatric dentist has recommended your child to an orthodontist, make sure the ortho has years of experience with children’s braces and other interceptive treatments.
Our board-certified orthodontists love serving the families of Auburn, CA and the surrounding areas. Dr. Markham and Dr. Scott love helping children achieve beautiful, healthy smiles through gentle orthodontic care, but they will only recommend it when it’s beneficial. Call our office today at (916) 924-8970 to schedule a complimentary evaluation.
So, you’re finally starting your journey to a straighter smile. The braces are on, now what? Fortunately, braces are pretty low maintenance, but there are quite a few things patients can do to make their orthodontic experience more effective and comfortable.
When you first get braces, it’s perfectly normal for your teeth and mouth to be sore and/or tender. Your lips, cheeks, and gums may also be irritated for up to two weeks while they get used to the braces. Try a saltwater rinse or over-the-counter pain reliever to help reduce the amount of pain or discomfort you feel.
Also, don’t fret if your teeth feel loose. The braces loosen your teeth to move them into the correct positions. Once your teeth are in their proper places, they will be as strong as before!
2. Quit bad habits
When you have braces, you’ll have to choose between breaking your bad habits or breaking your brackets. Biting your fingernails, chewing on pen caps or ice cubes, and using your teeth as tools all pose threats to your brackets and wires.
Continuing these habits can lead to a costly orthodontic emergency.
3. Brush often
Orthodontic patients should brush after every meal to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Be sure to brush for at least two minutes and to reach the front, back, and top of each tooth.
Ask your orthodontist about the best toothpaste and toothbrush for your teeth and braces.
Your orthodontist can also help you choose the right type of floss and provide a floss threader to make the process simpler. We recommend flossing after each meal, but we also know that takes a lot of time and effort.
Make it a habit to at least floss every evening so food and germs don’t attack your teeth and gums. We want your teeth to be just as healthy after braces as they were before!
5. Eat the right foods
When you first get braces, stick to eating soft foods to avoid causing more pain and discomfort to your mouth. However, even when your mouth is healed, it’s best to eat foods that won’t damage your braces or get stuck between the brackets.
6. Avoid the wrong foods
Here are some foods to avoid while wearing braces:
Sticky foods like caramels, gum, and Fruit Roll-Ups
Chewy foods like bagels, beef jerky, and granola bars
Crunchy foods like popcorn, chips, and nuts
Foods that require biting into like corn on the cob, apples, and carrots
7. Wear a mouth guard
Mouth guards protect the teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports. An orthodontist can create a custom mouth guard to provide you with the best, most comfortable protection. Be sure to properly clean and care for the mouth guard.
8. Use dental wax
While your mouth is getting acclimated to the braces, dental wax will be your new best friend. Simply place the wax over the brackets and wires that are irritating your gums to get some relief. This will also prevent blisters and sores from developing.
9. Wear rubber bands appropriately
Rubber bands, also called inter-arch rubber bands and elastics, are used to correct malocclusion. Be sure to wear the elastics exactly as your orthodontist has instructed. Typically, patients are required to wear them 24 hours a day. The rubber bands should be changed at least three times a day since they will lose elasticity.
10. Know when to call your orthodontist
Contact your orthodontist if you experience any of the following:
Severe pain after receiving braces
Loose wires and bands
Damage to the braces from a sports accident
A broken elastic hook
If you run out of bands or wax
Of course, always contact your dentist or orthodontists in any dental emergency. Our orthodontic team is here to serve you whenever you need our expert care.
To learn more about how we can help you achieve a beautiful, aligned smile, call (530) 823-8771 today.