Orthodontic appliances, such as palate expanders and the Herbst and MARA appliances, make caring for your teeth and gums more challenging. Orthodontic appliances get in the way of your toothbrush, and they make flossing difficult. And food can become lodged in the appliance, which is unsightly and bad for your teeth.
Preventing buildup of plaque and removing extra food particles are important to maintaining good oral health when you have an orthodontic appliance.
To remove plaque, you should brush around all parts of your orthodontic appliance and all of the surfaces of your teeth. Ideally, you should brush after every meal or snack. If you can’t brush right away, rinse your mouth well with water.
A manual toothbrush works well if you use it correctly. But when you have an orthodontic appliance in your mouth, you may find it easier to use a sonic toothbrush. Watch your toothbrush head for wear. Due to the orthodontic hardware in your mouth, you will need to replace the brush head more often.
Even a sonic toothbrush can't remove all of the plaque. You also need to floss to remove the plaque that your toothbrush cannot reach. A floss threader is one method for flossing with orthodontic appliances, but it can be difficult and time consuming.
One easy and effective way to remove plaque and improve gum health around orthodontic appliances is to use the Orthodontic Tip with the Waterpik® Water Flosser.
The Orthodontic Tip is designed with a tapered brush on the end to help remove plaque that sticks to appliance parts and between your teeth. It also helps flush out the bacteria and food debris from around teeth and under the gums.
Using fluoridated toothpaste or adding a fluoride rinse to your routine can help prevent decay. It's also important to continue your regular dental check-ups during orthodontic treatment.