Oral Hygiene



Once Dr. Doleski or Dr. Wolford has provided you with braces or clear aligners, maintaining good oral hygiene is more important than ever. This is because your braces or aligners can easily trap food particles near the tooth surfaces. If these bits of food are not removed, plaque will build up on the teeth that can lead to many problems including cavities, white spots on the teeth, gum disease, and bad breath. As your Erie, PA orthodontists, we advise you follow a routine of good oral hygiene to achieve the best results from your orthodontic treatment.

Healthy vs unhealthy.

Controlling Plaque While Wearing Braces

By keeping plaque under control, you can maintain strong and healthy teeth and gums for the entirety of your orthodontic treatment. The three main ways to keep plaque under control are:

  • Watch What You Eat. A very effective way to keep tooth decay at bay is to limit your consumption of sugary foods and drinks, like sweets, soda, and ice cream. You should also steer clear of hard foods that can damage your orthodontic appliances, like nuts and hard-crusted breads, as well as sticky foods that can become stuck in your orthodontic appliances like caramels, gum, and licorice. 

    We recommend keeping plenty of healthy foods and snacks on hand, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Hard foods like apples and carrots can be eaten as long as you cut them into small bite-sized pieces. Be sure not to chew on your fingernails, pencils, or ice, as these habits can damage your braces which can result in your orthodontic treatment being longer than you expected.
  • How to Clean Teeth With BracesPractice Excellent Oral Hygiene Every Day. While it can be more challenging to brush and floss your teeth when you're wearing braces, there are some helpful tips and tools which can make the job much easier. The team at Doleski & Wolford Orthodontics recommends using a soft-bristled or a bi-level toothbrush for effective plaque removal. You can also use an electric toothbrush on a moderate setting. An interdental brush or proxabrush is perfect for reaching those tight areas in between brackets, wires, and teeth.

    Depending on your situation, your orthodontist may recommend an in-office or at-home supplemental fluoride treatment to boost your cavity resistance. An antiseptic rinse may also be recommended, to ease minor gum inflammation or irritation.

    You should also floss your teeth at least once per day. We recommend using a floss threader that makes it easier to get the floss between wires and the gum line. When you have your braces placed on your teeth, we'll go over proper brushing & flossing techniques with you - but if you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!
  • See Your Dentist During Treatment. Even though you are seeing an orthodontist, you still need to see your dentist regularly while you're in orthodontic treatment. Your dentist and hygienist will make sure your teeth remain healthy by providing you with examinations and professional cleanings to make sure you achieve an incredible smile that's both healthy and beautiful!

Caring For Your Clear Aligners and Retainer

How to Clean Clear Aligners

Whether you're an Invisalign patient or are in the retention phase of orthodontic treatment, you need to keep your removable orthodontic appliances clean so they do not harbor bacteria that can cause bad breath or tooth decay.

To clean your Invisalign clear aligners, use a toothbrush to gently scrub them with a small about of anti-bacterial liquid soap, then rinse them well. Never use harsh cleaners on your clear aligners or hot water. This may distort the aligners, making them unusable.

How to Clean Removable Retainers

If you are in the retention phase of your treatment and have a retainer, be sure to brush it every day in the same way you brush your teeth. You can also clean your retainer using a cleaning solution along with lukewarm water. Always remember to keep your retainer in a case when you're not wearing it so it doesn't become damaged or lost.

Contact Your Corry, PA Orthodontist

The doctors and staff at Doleski & Wolford Orthodontics want all of our Erie, PA area patients to have a trouble-free and pleasant orthodontic experience! While you're undergoing orthodontic treatment with us, it's of the utmost importance to practice good oral hygiene for the entire time you're in treatment. This will ensure you get the straight and beautiful smile you deserve as quickly as possible! If you have any questions about your treatment or need more oral hygiene tips, please contact us at our Erie, Lawrence Park, or Corry, PA office!

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