Did you know that gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss among adults? Since braces make oral hygiene a bit more complicated, orthodontic patients need to be extra vigilant about keeping their teeth and gums healthy to prevent gum disease.
Here are some simple ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
If you keep your teeth and gums healthy, you will only need to visit the dentist for cleanings and checkups. Not major treatment.
1. Brush for two to three minutes, at least twice a day, with fluoridated toothpaste. Bonus points for brushing and/or rinsing after lunch. Proper dental hygiene also keeps your breath fresh. Your friends, family, and co-workers will appreciate that. Be sure to brush along the gumline. Clean away the fragments of food Don’t brush too hard, but be thorough. Scrubbing your gums aggressively can be painful and is a BIG don’t.
2. Floss daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. Don’t like to floss? Try a floss holder, which makes it far less complicated to insert the floss between teeth. But get over your aversion to flossing, unless you want tooth decay or gingivitis (gum disease).
3. Although not a substitute for brushing and flossing, using a mouth rinse can halt plaque accumulation and keep your enamel strong. Remember that fluoride mouth rinses are not the same as mouthwashes. Mouthwashes have alcohol and are designed to freshen breath. (But they can exacerbate dry mouth which can cause other problems.)
4. Eat a healthy diet. Starchy and sugary foods increase plaque. A healthy diet provides the nutrients necessary (vitamins A and C, in particular) to keep teeth and gums healthy.
5. Skip cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, which may bring about gum disease or oral cancer. While you’re at it, avoid e-cigs and vapors.
6. Be aware that certain medications can also threaten dental health. These include oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and heart medicines. If your medications are affecting your dental health, speak with Doctor Lee.
7. Exercise preventive care and schedule regular examinations — the best way to detect early signs of gum disease and make a plan to reverse it.
8. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about dental health topics such as old, broken fillings or damaged teeth.
9. If you grind your teeth, talk with Doctor Lee about ways to guard your teeth.
By preventing gum disease and tooth decay, when your course of orthodontic treatment is finished, you will have the beautiful smile you deserve.