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Orthodontics & Dental Hygiene

Braces & ClearCorrect in Deerfield, IL

At Jarosz & Valente Orthodontics, we're proud to help our patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles through orthodontic treatment. As a leading orthodontist serving the Deerfield & Arlington Heights, IL areas, we're proud to offer treatments ranging from braces to ClearCorrect clear aligners, and we strive to customize the treatment process to suit the needs of our patients. But how you care for your teeth at home is just as important as the treatment we provide in the office – and proper oral hygiene is a crucial part of successful treatment.

The Importance of Oral Hygiene During Orthodontic Treatment

We all know that oral hygiene is vital to dental health. But during orthodontic treatment, it becomes even more critical. That's because your teeth are more vulnerable to dental decay while wearing an orthodontic appliance: the nooks and crannies of brackets and wires make the perfect hiding places for food and bacteria, which can combine to form acids that corrode dental enamel and cause cavities. To keep your teeth healthy during treatment, you'll need to ensure you maintain strong oral hygiene.

The number one enemy of oral health is plaque: a thin biofilm of microorganisms and organic debris that can form on the teeth, often hosting colonies of harmful bacteria. These bacteria take the sugars from the foods you eat and break them down into acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. And because teeth are harder to clean while wearing braces, it's easier for plaque to form and stick longer on the teeth, leading to dental health problems like cavities, white marks on the teeth, gum disease, and bad breath.

Controlling plaque is a major priority during orthodontic treatment, and there are two primary ways to do it: diet and oral hygiene.

How Diet Affects Tooth Decay

You can minimize your risk of tooth decay by avoiding foods most likely to lead to it. Generally speaking, this means minimizing any overly-sugary foods like candy, soda, and ice cream. It's also important to avoid any foods that can easily get stuck to the braces, such as toffee, gum, licorice, or caramel.

In addition to contributing to dental decay, some foods can cause harm to your braces. Foods that are sticky, chewy, hard, or crunchy can all potentially break or damage braces, so make sure to steer clear of these. For a more extensive list of foods you'll need to watch out for, check out our Foods to Avoid page.

Brushing & Flossing with Braces

Daily brushing and flossing are absolutely vital to maintaining proper oral hygiene and health, but it'll require some changes in technique while wearing braces. We'd recommend using a soft-bristled or bi-level toothbrush (which has longer bristles on the outside) to clean your teeth and braces, but electric toothbrushes can also work well. You'll need to brush at least four times per day: once after every meal and once before bed. You may also want to pick up an interdental brush, which is a small brush that looks like a pipe cleaner and is great for dislodging small bits of food on the go. Finally, remember that you'll need to use floss threaders to correctly floss all of your teeth with braces.

In addition to these tools, we may recommend some patients use in-office or at-home fluoride supplement treatments to help build resistance to cavities and strengthen teeth. If you find your mouth is sore or you're getting irritation from minor cuts inside the mouth, an antiseptic mouth rinse is a great way to ease this. But don't worry – we'll provide comprehensive instructions for cleaning your teeth during treatment when we first put your braces on, and we'll walk you through any supplemental treatments we recommend.

Cleaning Retainers

If you're wearing a removable retainer or getting treated with ClearCorrect aligners, you'll need to make sure your appliances are clean as well. Gently brush them each time you remove them from your mouth, and it can help to periodically soak your retainer or aligner in a glass of tap water with a denture cleaning solution to provide a deeper clean. However, avoid using hot water, as this can warp some removable appliances. And remember that your retainer or ClearCorrect aligners should only ever be in one of two places: in your mouth or in their purpose-built case.

Professional Dental Care During Orthodontic Treatment

During your treatment, we'll bring you into the office regularly for checkup appointments. But that doesn't mean you don't need to see your regular dentist! Oral hygiene is more important than ever during orthodontic treatment, and regular professional dental cleanings are a critical part of that care. Make sure to continue with regularly scheduled dental check-up appointments, getting a dental exam and teeth cleaning from your Deerfield dentist once every 6 months.

Schedule a Consultation with Your Arlington Heights, IL Orthodontist

With diligent, consistent oral hygiene practices, you can protect your teeth from cavities and decay and help ensure you achieve a gorgeous new smile. And if you're interested in pursuing a new smile of your own, we'd be thrilled to help you do it! Contact us today to learn more about treatment and schedule your consultation. We can't wait to hear from you!

Jarosz & Valente Orthodontics, P.C.

  • Arlington Heights Office - 3430 N. Old Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60004 Phone: 847-632-1030 Fax: 847-632-1041
  • Deerfield Office - 720 Osterman Ave., Suite 201, Deerfield, IL 60015 Phone: 847-945-3700 Fax: 847-945-3277

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