Q. My 7th grader just got braces and I’m fearful that he isn’t keeping his teeth clean enough. How can he properly take care of his teeth?
A. Maintaining good oral hygiene throughout orthodontic treatment is an essential part of achieving a beautiful healthy smile. First of all, it is imperative for someone with braces to see his or her dentist and hygienist every six months for a cleaning and evaluation. These procedures can still be performed with the braces on and are important in maintaining oral health throughout treatment and after the braces are removed. Cleaning your teeth properly with braces on is also extremely important in order to avoid problems such as decalcifi cation of the enamel or excessive gingival inflammation. There are many different types of products available to help the orthodontic patient maintain good oral hygiene. Floss threaders or other flossing aids can help with cleaning between the teeth, and small interproximal brushes can reach and clean areas between brackets and underneath wires that toothbrushes often miss. Your orthodontist should review brushing and fl ossing techniques at each appointment and check to see if you have any problems so that they can be addressed early.
Daniel C. Sawrie, D.D.S., M.S.
4727 Brainerd Road
Chattanooga, TN 37411