1. Disclosing Tablets
Great oral hygiene is necessary to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Whether due to laziness or a lack of knowledge, many people struggle to clean their teeth well enough to ensure their oral tissues are in optimal condition.
Failure to remove plaque leads to gum problems such as gingivitis (inflamed gums) and gum recession. If poor oral hygiene continues for a long period of time, it can even lead to tooth loss. Plaque, along with a high sugar diet also leads to tooth decay and square decalcification marks if wearing braces. With this in mind, oral hygiene needs to be at a satisfactory level before we start any orthodontic treatment. After all, what’s the point of having straight teeth if they’re in poor condition?
The problem with plaque is that it blends with our tooth colour, so it’s difficult to see. Disclosing tablets are a safe, chewable tablet made from a vegetable dye that stains the plaque pink so it’s visible. These tablets can be used before or after brushing and are a great tool to help patients see the plaque and improve their oral hygiene.
We recommend using disclosing tablets when you have braces or other orthodontic appliances, particularly at the start of treatment when you’re getting used to brushing with new hardware in your mouth. If used after brushing, you’ll be able to see the areas that you’re missing so you know where to focus each time you brush.
2. Soft Toothbrush
We don’t mind what brand of toothbrush you use provided it has soft bristles and a small head, and you brush your teeth thoroughly each morning and night. Ensuring your brush has a small head makes it easier to get into places that are difficult to reach. Soft bristles are gentle on your teeth and gums while still being effective at plaque removal. If you have a toothbrush with medium or hard bristles, there is a risk that tooth enamel can be worn away and gum recession can occur.
3. Fluoridated Toothpaste
One of the most important dental health benefits of toothpaste is protection from decay which comes courtesy of the fluoride it contains. Fluoride strengthens the dental enamel and in simple terms helps with remineralisation and limits demineralisation of your teeth. The well-known toothpaste brands found at your local supermarket or pharmacy contain fluoride.
4. Platypus Flosser
Flossing your teeth when you’ve had braces fitted can be tricky and requires excellent manual dexterity. It’s also time-consuming so we find that only the most compliant patients will floss regularly during their orthodontic treatment. A failure to floss leads to swollen, puffy gums as the surfaces between the teeth remain covered in plaque. The Platypus flosser makes flossing with braces quick and easy as it fits easily under the archwire and between the brackets. This will ensure that gums stay in excellent condition during treatment.
Without a doubt, water is the best drink for keeping our teeth and bodies healthy. Many beverages we have access to are laden with sugar and are highly acidic, which leads to tooth decay and decalcification. Water on the other hand is sugar-free and dilutes the damaging acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth.
Water in most modern cities is fluoridated which provides protection against decay by strengthening the enamel and making your teeth more resistant to decay. Don’t forget to fill up your water bottle with tap water and drink it frequently to keep your body hydrated and help your teeth remain decay-free!
6. Interdental Brush
Interdental brushes are small brushes designed to get into spaces where your toothbrush can’t reach. If you have braces, they are fantastic to remove the plaque underneath your archwire. They’re also great to clean in and around orthodontic appliances such as expanders and bite jumpers, and between your teeth where large gaps exist.
They come in a range of sizes, with the bigger ones better for cleaning in and around your orthodontic appliances. The smallest ones can be used to clean close to the gum line for patients who have bonded retainers in place. The neck of the brush can be curved for easy access to tricky places and once in position can be moved gently backward and forward to remove any food and plaque.
Superfloss is different from normal floss as it comes in pre-cut strands with one end stiffened so that it is easy to thread under your archwire or your bonded retainer. The central section is made of thick, spongy floss which is useful for cleaning around all sorts of orthodontic appliances which are fixed to your teeth. The end which is not stiffened is regular floss and can be used to remove plaque from between your teeth.
Mouthguards protect your teeth from fracture, nerve damage, and avulsion (when your whole tooth is completely knocked out of your mouth). They also protect your lips and cheeks from laceration, which can occur if you sustain a trauma when fitted with braces. For most of our patients with braces, we recommend a “boil and bite” mouthguard as it can be reshaped during treatment as your teeth move. Our favourite “boil and bite” mouthguard is the adult size by Elastoplast because it’s big enough to fit over the teeth and braces, is easy to shape to your mouth and is inexpensive. When your treatment is complete, we recommend a custom-fitted mouthguard as they offer the best protection and are the most comfortable to wear.
9. Aligner Cleaning Products
Aligners and clear retainers can discolour after a while, so freshening them up with an aligner cleanser makes them look as good as new and reduces any bacteria that may be present. Our two favourite products are “Aligner Bright” and Invisalign Cleaning Crystals”, which will have your aligners sparkling in as little as 15 minutes.
10. Tooth Mousse Plus
Tooth mousse contains a protein extracted from milk as well as the minerals calcium and phosphate which together can repair early decay by replacing the lost mineral from the tooth. It also contains fluoride which makes it a powerhouse for protection against tooth decay.
While no substitute for excellent oral hygiene and a low-sugar diet, tooth mousse can be used during orthodontic treatment to prevent white spots from appearing on teeth.
Tooth Mousse is most effective when applied just before bed after you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth. It comes in a range of flavours including strawberry, tutti-frutti, vanilla and mint, so even the fussiest of kids can find a flavour they like.
**It is important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using any products mentioned in this blog post.