Oral Hygiene


An Essential Part of Orthodontic Treatment

The care provided by your local Tacoma orthodontist is most effective when good at-home oral hygiene is practiced. Patients can take care of their braces by making the time for thorough cleaning after meals and snacks. Remember, some foods have the potential to get stuck in the small spaces between brackets and wires and so should be avoided while wearing braces altogether. Other types of braces, such as Invisalign, can be removed for eating. Excellent oral hygiene is an essential part of treatment.

Caring For Braces

There are a few special tools that patients with braces can use to keep their alignment appliances clean. These include:

  • A toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Tape-style floss, floss picks, or other flossing products recommended by your orthodontist
  • Fluoride toothpaste formulated to clear away plaque and prevent cavities
  • Dental rinses or mouthwash products to kill bacteria and treat the minor irritation that may occur with braces

Some patients like to use interdental toothbrushes. These are specially designed to help reach into the small spaces between braces and teeth. When brushing with a standard or interdental toothbrush, go slowly and take time to thoroughly clean all tooth surfaces. Use a gentle brushing action to avoid harming the aligner.

Choosing the Right Foods

In general, foods that are sticky or hard should be avoided while wearing braces. This can include hard candy, caramel, corn chips, and chewing gum. Choose sugary treats carefully. Even small particles can become lodged in the spaces between teeth or next to brackets and promote the development of enamel-eroding bacteria.

Some patients worry that braces and other aligners might contribute to tooth decay. Your orthodontist will use a special dental cement containing fluoride when fixing brackets and rings to teeth. Good oral hygiene and informed food choices are also essential in preventing this problem.

Speak With An Orthodontic Expert Today!

If you want to learn more about orthodontic treatment or about oral hygiene while wearing braces, Dr. Knight can help. Schedule an appointment today by calling (253) 627-5550. One of our helpful, friendly staff members will be happy to assist in any way they can. We look forward to hearing from you soon!