Toothpaste and Orthodontics

May 29, 2020

Toothpaste and OrthodonticsBetween the thousands of brands, different flavors, and claims it is no surprise that people can have a difficult time when choosing a toothpaste. Even some dental professionals admit that it can take time to differentiate between brands and types. If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, it can make the decision even more daunting. To help you we’ve compiled the ultimate toothpaste buying guide to keep your smile healthy and happy.

Common Ingredients

Though there are many forms and types of toothpaste on the market, there are some common ingredients shared by most varieties.

  • Abrasive Agents – These are scratchy particles that work to remove food, bacteria, and minimal stains from the surface of your teeth while you brush. Calcium carbonate is the most common abrasive substance used in toothpaste.
  • Flavoring – Artificial sweeteners are added to make toothpaste taste better. Though many of us associate the flavor of toothpaste with mint, there are many other flavor options on the market such as cinnamon, lemon-lime, and bubblegum.
  • Humectants – Moisturizing agents are used to keep pastes and gels from drying out. The most commonly used humectant for toothpaste is glycerol.
  • Thickening Agents – These agents help to give toothpaste that distinctive consistency and texture that we are used to in our toothpaste.
  • Detergent – Detergents are used to create suds or foams while you brush your teeth. The most commonly used agent for detergents in toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate.

Types of Toothpaste

Toothpaste comes in gel, paste, and powdered forms. When it comes to selecting the form of your toothpaste, it is a matter of preference. There are many types of toothpaste on the market and while some may target specific oral concerns, others may cover a variety. Some of the common types of toothpaste include:

  • Fluoride- Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has proven instrumental in reducing tooth decay and preventing cavities dramatically over the last 50 years. Toothpaste that contains fluoride works to strengthen your enamel to prevent acidic damage and also reverses early signs of decay by remineralizing the surface of your teeth. Anti-cavity toothpaste contains higher levels of fluoride than standard options.
  • Tartar-Control- Everyone has bacteria on their teeth known as plaque which can be removed with good oral hygiene habits such as daily brushing and flossing. However, when plaque is left alone, it can harden and form into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional during a cleaning. Tartar-control toothpaste is formulated to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth using chemical compounds such as zinc citrate, thus preventing the buildup of plaque and decreasing the formation of tartar more effectively than other toothpaste.
  • Tooth Sensitivity- Tooth sensitivity occurs when your enamel is damaged and the second layer of your teeth, dentin, is exposed. Specific compounds, such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, desensitize nerve endings in your teeth to offer relief and add a protective layer to the exposed areas.
  • Whitening – Having a whiter smile is a common goal for many people. Whitening toothpaste does not typically use bleach but may contain more abrasive particles or chemicals to polish or remove stains from the surface of your teeth. It is important to discuss whitening toothpaste with your dentist as some can do more harm than good as the use of whitening toothpaste can increase your risk for developing tooth sensitivity. Depending on your goals, you may need professional treatment to achieve your desired results.

 

Brushing with Orthodontics

Toothpaste that contains fluoride is recommended for all patients as fluoride works to reduce tooth decay and protect your enamel from erosion.

If you are straightening your teeth with Invisalign, then your oral hygiene routine can stay the same and your options are endless. For patients who have other forms of orthodontic appliances such as braces, you may need to work a little harder to maintain a clean, cavity-free smile. As always, we suggest a fluoride option, but using tartar-control toothpaste can also help to reduce plaque buildup in those hard to reach areas.

We advise our patients to avoid using whitening toothpaste or products while receiving orthodontic treatment, as these products will only whiten visible areas and may leave patients with uneven colored teeth once your braces are removed.

For more information on which toothpaste to select or how your toothpaste can affect your smile with orthodontic treatment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

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The Oral Health Connection

From a young age, we are taught the importance of taking care of our teeth with brushing and flossing to prevent cavities and other painful oral conditions, but poor

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Visiting The Orthodontist During COVID-19

Visiting The Orthodontist During COVID-19We want you to know that even now, we are still here for you and your orthodontic needs. We are committed to the health and safety of our patients, staff, families, and community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though your experience may look different now as we take necessary steps to best protect our patients, staff, and doctors, we remain dedicated to providing you with high-quality care while still following the CDC guidelines. Our staff has undergone training and education on the importance of hygiene, facemasks, protective gear, and etiquette. We routinely clean and sterilize all surfaces, supplies, equipment, and tools within our office because when you walk into any healthcare facility, you should feel confident that you are in a safe and clean environment.

Our additional safety measures help limit contact with others so that your visit can be a safe and healthy one.

Practices in Place

Before You Arrive
Prior to your appointment, you will be asked to fill out a pre-screening questionnaire. This enables us to conduct a rough check of your health status and includes questions about recent coughs, fever, or potential contact with people who have been infected with COVID-19. You may be asked to complete this before scheduling an appointment and upon your arrival, in case your answers may have changed.

We would also like to inform our patients that we are limiting the number of people allowed in our office at a time to reduce the number of interactions between staff and patients.

Upon Arrival
Once you arrive at our office, a nurse will likely take your temperature. Depending on our current restrictions, you may be asked to wait in your car or outside after check-in until your room is ready.

If allowed in our waiting room, please continue to wear your mask until you are seated in the dental office and told to remove your mask. You may notice that magazines and commonly touched surfaces have been removed and signs placed on chairs and tables for social distancing purposes. Sanitizer is also available for your use.

During Your Appointment
Once you’re in the dental chair, you may notice some changes. We are currently asking patients to do a pre-procedural rinse­, a mixture of diluted hydrogen peroxide or iodine, to reduce the level of oral microorganisms present in your mouth and upper throat. It is important to note that these oral rinses are specially formulated for dental use and should only be used in a medical setting.

Our staff members may also wear different face shields, gowns, and goggles than previous appointments to help protect against and prevent the spread of germs and contamination.

After You Leave
After each appointment, surfaces are disinfected with hospital-grade cleaners, and tools are sterilized after each use. Air filters are also placed throughout the office to increase ventilation and help to keep the air clean and safe for your visit.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our daily lives and this includes your visits to our office. Even with the pandemic, it is important to attend your scheduled appointments as delaying treatment or pushing back appointments can affect your orthodontic treatment plan or allow underlying conditions to progress and worsen. We take pride in our safety measures to ensure your health and safety. For more information on our safety precautions or to schedule an appointment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

The Oral Health Connection

The Oral Health ConnectionFrom a young age, we are taught the importance of taking care of our teeth with brushing and flossing to prevent cavities and other painful oral conditions, but poor oral hygiene can lead to more than a toothache. Did you know that your oral health and general health are connected?

Research shows that poor oral health can be associated with several major health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. This information is especially important for patients who are undergoing or considering orthodontic treatment, as appliances sometimes increase bacterial growth in your mouth which may lead to complications. Fortunately, our team is here to ensure your oral health is well managed so that your smile can remain happy and healthy.

How can my oral health affect my general health?

Your mouth can be a window into your body’s overall health and wellness as many signs of infection, nutritional deficiencies, and warning signs of serious health conditions often present themselves in your oral health. Your mouth is filled with countless bacteria, some good and some bad. The overgrowth of bad bacteria can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.

Gum disease is a condition where bacterial growth within the mouth results in an infection of the surrounding and supporting soft tissue of teeth. One of the most common causes of gum disease is the build-up of plaque that hardens into tartar which can only be removed by professionals. This buildup irritates the gums causing them to become swollen, red, and recede. As they recede higher, the infection continues to spread and can lead to eventual tooth and bone loss.

Braces and other orthodontic appliances provide extra surface areas in the mouth for harmful bacteria to grow. We understand brushing and flossing can become difficult with braces in the way, however, it is a vital part of maintaining your oral health and hygiene. Failing to brush and floss daily with braces can impact your treatment, oral health, and increase your risk for other conditions.

Conditions Associated with Gum Disease

Harmful bacteria and infection can easily spread from the mouth to the rest of the body through the bloodstream. For patients with gum disease, the added bacteria in your mouth can increase your risk for infections and certain health conditions including the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood sugar and pressure
  • Obesity
  • Respiratory conditions

Although gum disease may contribute to these conditions, it is important to note that just because these conditions may occur at the same time, does not mean that one directly caused the other. Studies show that conditions that lower your body’s resistance to infection are likely to increase your risk for other health complications including oral health conditions.

Signs

Common signs of gum disease may include the following:

  • Bad breath
  • Frequent mouth infections
  • Gums that bleed when you floss or brush
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Swollen, red, and tender gums
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth

If you notice any of these symptoms, bring them to our attention as these signs may be signs of gum disease or other serious health conditions.

Orthodontic Care and Good Oral Health Practices

If you have gum disease or a serious condition that can increase your risk of bacterial infections, orthodontic treatment may or not be possible. In moderate to severe cases, gum disease can cause your teeth to shift into undesirable positions during treatment. In other cases, the inflammation of gums may cause bleeding and sores due to friction against the appliances during treatment which can lead to infection. These complications may cause treatment to stop early to avoid increasing patient risk of infection. However, that doesn’t mean that if you are diabetic and have gum disease you are unable to receive orthodontic care. We will conduct a thorough evaluation of your teeth to determine the best course of treatment for your needs to ensure your oral health. Always tell your oral health care team about any changes in your health, especially if you have other health conditions such as lung disease, diabetes, or heart disease as well as any medications you are on as these may affect your treatment and oral health.

To best protect your mouth, it is important to practice good oral health practices regularly and attend routine professional cleanings throughout the year. You should brush at least twice a day for two minutes at a 45-degree angle with an ADA-approved toothbrush and toothpaste. Flossing helps to remove plaque and food particles that can’t be removed with brushing and we recommend patients floss at least once a day. You should replace your toothbrush every three months or once the bristles begin to break down.

Though brushing and floss can be your main defense against oral complications, routine exams and cleanings are also important as our staff is trained to identify and treat oral health conditions and look for signs that may cause concern. For more information about the importance of your oral health or to schedule an appointment, please contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

Flossing with Braces

Flossing with BracesWhen you have orthodontic treatment, a significant portion of your teeth may be covered allowing food particles to easily get trapped between your teeth and behind brackets, wires, and rubber bands. During your treatment, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to remember to floss your teeth daily when you have braces or other orthodontic appliances.

Why is Flossing Important?

Brushing only removes plaque from the surface of your teeth, while flossing works to remove plaque from areas of your teeth your toothbrush can’t reach such as between teeth and underneath the gumline to keep your oral health in check. This is important if you have traditional orthodontic treatment as your appliance may prevent your toothbrush from fully brushing the surface of your teeth.

If you do not remove plaque daily, it can harden into tartar and increase your risk for gum inflammation and gum disease, which are two common dental conditions often associated with not flossing enough. To keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy, you should make flossing a part of your daily routine. It doesn’t matter if you floss at night or in the morning, it is just important that you do so at least once a day.

When teeth touch, the narrow space between them can only be cleaned through flossing. As soon as children have teeth that touch one another, it is time to help them floss. By starting early, you protect their smile as they grow and help to instill good oral health habits.

Flossing with Braces

Braces and other orthodontic appliances provide extra surface areas in the mouth for plaque to grow. We understand flossing can become difficult with braces in the way, however, it is a vital part of maintaining your oral health and hygiene. Failing to floss daily with braces can impact your treatment and oral health negatively and may lead to the following dental health concerns:

  • Bad breath
  • Cavities
  • Discolored teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay

Tools to Make Flossing Easier

There is no doubt that flossing with braces can become a daunting task when navigating between wires and brackets. However, there are several flossing options that can help make the process easier.

  • Dental Tape- If your gums are sensitive, dental tape can be an ideal flossing method. Dental tape is an ultrathin floss and that is smooth, waxed, and spongy. This tape is thinner and wider than traditional floss allowing it to glide between teeth more easily.
  • Floss Threaders- Floss threaders are tools that can speed up the traditional flossing process by helping pull floss between the brackets and wires.
  • Interdental Brushes- Proxy brushes, or interdental brushes, are round/cone-shaped brushes with small bristles made of silicone or nylon held together by a wire. This flexible brush is designed to fit in-between your teeth and comes in a variety of sizes so that you can select the one (or ones) that work best for your teeth.
  • Oral Irrigators- Oral irrigators, or water flossers, use a steady stream of water to clean between the teeth and along your gum line. Some brands of oral irrigators offer special tips for patients with orthodontic appliances that enable them to clean around brackets easier than the standard tips.
  • Traditional Floss- This method can be difficult for patients with braces as threading floss around the brackets and wires takes time. We recommend using wax-coated single-strand floss that can easily be maneuvered between your braces.

If you find flossing with braces difficult, our orthodontic team can demonstrate various flossing types and methods that work well with braces. We will work with you to find the one that works best for you. We recommend patients floss at least once a day and follow up with an interdental brush to clean under the wires and around the brackets.

It is normal to feel some discomfort and notice bleeding when you first start to floss. After flossing regularly for a few weeks, your gums will feel better and the bleeding will stop. If you continue to experience discomfort, you may need to consult your dentist. For more information on how to floss with braces or to schedule an appointment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

Protecting Your Teeth with Mouthwash

Protecting Your Teeth with MouthwashBraces, retainers, and other orthodontic appliances help to straighten your smile but can make it difficult to keep your teeth clean. During orthodontic treatment it is important to clean between brackets and wires helps to remove leftover food particles and reduce plaque buildup. Without proper oral hygiene practices during your treatment, you are putting yourself at risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay, and decalcification. Adding a mouthwash to your routine can help to further protect your teeth and ensure they stay healthy during treatment. There are various types of mouthwashes on the market, so we’ve decided to offer some advice on mouthwashes to help you decide which is right for you and your oral care routine.

Is Mouthwash Safe To Use With Braces?

Of course! Similar to floss, mouthwashes are capable of cleaning areas of your teeth that your toothbrush just can’t reach. As you know, orthodontic appliances have the potential to allow plaque to build up, which is why it is so important to stay on top of your oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing at night. Mouthwashes can contain antibacterial ingredients that reduce build up between the teeth, brackets, and wires. This helps to keep your teeth clean and reduce the potential for staining or discoloration which can be a concern during orthodontic treatment.

It is important to note that though mouthwash can be beneficial, it is not an absolute necessity. If you already practice good oral hygiene habits and are diligent in cleaning the hard to reach areas with your orthodontics, you should be fine without it. Still, adding an oral rinse to your routine isn’t a bad idea. We recommend patients speak with their dentist before purchasing mouthwash to ensure they use the best products for their oral health.

Selecting The Right Mouthwash

Generally, we recommend patients select an anti-cavity fluoride mouthwash. This will protect your teeth from the harmful acid produced by bacterial plaque and the fluoride will be absorbed into your teeth to strengthen your enamel against tooth decay and cavities. An advanced fluoride formula will also reduce the change of discoloration under the braces. Be sure you speak with your dentist first to avoid excessive fluoride intake as you may receive a healthy amount in your toothpaste and water.

There are many products to choose from, so when selecting your mouthwash consider your personal oral health goals. Are you wanting to tackle bad breath? Or is plaque and gum disease more your concern? There are two main types of mouthwash: therapeutic and cosmetic.

  • Therapeutic mouthwashes are formulated with medicinal ingredients to improve your oral health in some way by lowering bacterial build-up to help reduce your risk of gum disease, dry mouth, and tooth decay. These are available over the counter and by prescription from your dentist.
  • Cosmetic mouthwashes are designed specifically to control bad breath and leave a pleasant taste in your mouth afterward.

Regardless of what mouthwash you choose, remember that mouthwashes are meant to support good brushing and flossing habits; they should not be used as a substitute cleaning method.

A Proper Routine

Mouthwash should be used after brushing and flossing properly. If your orthodontist has fitted you with elastics, remove them during the cleaning process. Brush with a soft-bristled brush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in a small circular motion. Brush in and around all of the brackets and wires, ensuring that you get underneath the wires as well. Your orthodontist may recommend using special cleaning aids such as interdental brushes or floss threaders to help you clean your teeth efficiently. If you have elastics, replace your elastics as instructed by your orthodontist.

After brushing and flossing, rinse with your dentist-approved mouthwash. Read the label and follow the instructions. Most mouthwashes require you to swish the solution around for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Do not swallow the rinse as some of the ingredients can be harmful if ingested. For the mouthwash to work correctly, you should wait 30 minutes before eating, drinking, or smoking. This will help to prevent tooth decay and white spots.

If you are curious about adding a mouthwash to your daily routine, ask your dentist about which would be right for you. Mouthwash can be used to help with various conditions such as bad breath, tooth decay, tooth sensitivity, gum disease, and discolored teeth just to name a few. For more information on mouthwash or to schedule a consultation, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

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