8 Tips for Orthodontic Health
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8 Tips for Orthodontic Health

Orthodontic Health Month is all about promoting the benefits of orthodontic treatments and the importance of a healthy smile. At Orthodontics of Long Beach, we want to encourage good oral health, so we’ve put together the following tips for orthodontic health for you and your family.

Orthodontic Tip 1: How Do I Know if It’s Time to See an Orthodontist?

If you are a parent and your child has just turned seven, that is a good time to bring them in for their first orthodontic consultation. At this age, we can evaluate what is going on with the permanent teeth that are starting to come in, and plan for the possibility of braces in the future. At this time, we may use space maintainers to help create enough room for the new adult teeth that are forming.

If you are an adult and think you might need an orthodontist, come visit us at Orthodontics of Long Beach. At your initial consultation, we will evaluate your teeth, bite, and jaw to see if there are any malocclusions (misalignments). If we think you might be a candidate for braces or invisalign® clear aligners, we will let you know and discuss options with you at that time.

We also offer clear ceramic braces as an alternative to metal braces.

Orthodontic Tip 2: How Often Should I See an Orthodontist?

If you or your child are undergoing orthodontic treatment currently, typically in the form of metal braces, ceramic braces, or invisalign® clear aligners, you may need to come visit us at Orthodontics of Long Beach every few weeks for adjustments to the braces or to replace your invisalign® clear aligners.

Our friendly orthodontist will set up the perfect schedule for you and try to work around your calendar. Note: once you start braces treatment, it is very important to come in at your regularly scheduled adjustments to ensure that your braces are “tuned” properly for maximum benefit. If you miss appointments, your overall treatment time will lengthen.

Orthodontic Tip 3: What Are the Best Ways to Clean Teeth With Braces?

You’ll need to brush your teeth at least twice a day and/or after meals when you wear braces, and floss your teeth at least once per day. Because of the brackets and wire used in braces, you should be extra careful when brushing and don’t press too hard.

Whatever brush you use, generally, you will hold it at a 45-degree angle while brushing and try to spend at least 30 seconds per quadrant. Don’t forget to gently brush at the gumline, which helps to massage and stimulate the gums for gum health.

Use a soft bristle brush and be careful to brush all of your teeth, particularly the back ones that have more crevasses to hold food. Use the brush around the gum line as well so plaque and tartar can’t build up around your gums. If you have trouble brushing for any reason, speak to your dentist at our Long Beach office about adaptable toothbrushes and other aids.

Orthodontic Tip 4: What Kind of Toothbrush Should I Use With Braces?

To brush teeth with braces, you should use a soft-bristle toothbrush and possibly a proxabrush, which is a brush shaped like a Christmas tree that can clean between the brackets. Additionally, some electric toothbrushes come with special heads designed to safely clean teeth with braces.

Orthodontic Tip 5: What Kind of Dental Floss Should I Use with Braces?

Certain types of dental floss may be easier to use with braces, such as waxed floss. Floss with no wax is more likely to get stuck in braces. Many people find that a floss threader helps in controlling the floss without getting it stuck.

Another great tool to help with flossing when you have braces is a water pick or water flosser. These tools use a gentle stream of water to clean between teeth and can work even better than regular floss if used properly and consistently.

Orthodontic Tip 6: What Types of Foods Should I Eat With Braces?

Modern braces are pretty sturdy, but they still need to be treated with care. Ceramic or clear braces in particular are a little more fragile than metal braces, so the care tips we provide here are doubly true for those types of clear braces. In general, avoiding eating foods that could potentially damage your braces by dislodging a bracket or pushing a wire out of place.

Extremely sticky foods like taffy or caramel candy are not advised when you have braces. Hard candies or similar substances like ice can also cause problems for braces, so avoid chewing those as well.

Orthodontic Tip 7: Can I Eat Anything I Want With invisalign® Clear Aligners?

If you remove your invisalign® clear aligners when you eat, you should be able to eat what you want, within reason. That said, you don’t want to stress your teeth out too much, especially while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Avoid eating too many sugary foods, which can enable the proliferation of bacteria along the gumline. This is especially true if you are unable to brush your teeth prior to putting your invisalign® clear aligners back in after a meal – although we recommend brushing your teeth if possible. (Consider bringing a small toothbrush with you if you go out to eat.)

Orthodontic Tip 8: Can I Drink Whatever I Want With invisalign® Clear Aligners?

You can drink while you have your invisalign® clear aligners in, but be careful. The clear, non-toxic plastic that is used to create the invisalign® trays could potentially stain if you drink too many dark beverages such as grape juice, red wine, coffee, tea, or even colas. Consider drinking white wine instead of red wine or white grape juice instead of purple grape juice – although, as dentists, we encourage you to cut down on your juice intake as much as possible due to all the sugar in it.

You can also trade non-staining herbal tea for your typical black tea as a way to avoid staining, but this brings us to our next important point: Avoid drinking hot beverages when you have your invisalign® clear aligners in, because heat can warp the plastic tray. For this reason, if you do need to drink coffee or tea with your invisalign® clear aligners, wait until your beverage has cooled down considerably before drinking it.

Enhance Your Smile With Orthodontic Treatment in Long Beach

If you would like quality orthodontic care for yourself or your child, Orthodontics of Long Beach can help. We are located conveniently in Long Beach next to the South Bay, offering flexible appointments to meet the needs of busy professionals and families alike. Whether you need traditional metal braces or are a candidate for invisalign® clear aligners, we can help beautify your smile.

For the latest in orthodontic treatments that create beautiful smiles in Southern California, contact Orthodontics of Long Beach for a consultation.


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