Dental Hygiene

Straightening your teeth by getting orthodontic treatment is a significant investment in both time and money. This is why it is essential that you do all you can to ensure you get the best results possible. However, dental professionals recommend good dental hygiene for everyone (whether you’re getting orthodontic treatment or not). It’s even more critical for someone who is undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Neglecting proper dental hygiene can result in complications that can undermine the success of your treatment and even lead to long-term dental health problems. As a leading Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry orthodontist, we understand that the success of every treatment we offer depends on how well our patients follow recommended hygiene practices. In this post, we’ll explain the importance of good dental hygiene and why you need to pay attention to it.

Poor Dental Hygiene During Orthodontic Treatment Can Cause Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Poor dental hygiene can lead to a variety of complications during orthodontic treatment, and some of the most common ones are tooth decay and gum disease. When food particles and bacteria are not removed from the mouth, they may get trapped under your braces or Invisalign aligners, forming plaque, which can lead to cavities and gum disease. Orthodontic appliances, such as braces, can make cleaning between teeth and around brackets and wires more difficult. This is why you need to pay special attention to brushing, flossing, and other tooth cleaning routines to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Poor Hygiene Can Cause Enamel Demineralization

Enamel demineralization is a process that occurs when acid produced by bacteria in the mouth erodes the enamel on the teeth. This can result in white spots on the teeth and can eventually lead to cavities. Orthodontic appliances can make it more difficult to clean the teeth thoroughly, which can increase the risk of enamel demineralization.

You Don’t Want to End up With Bad Breath

Poor dental hygiene during orthodontic treatment can lead to bad breath — one of the most embarrassing dental problems. When food particles are not removed from the mouth as often as possible, they can produce an unpleasant odor as they break down.

Orthodontic appliances can trap food particles that may breed bacteria that cause bad breath. To avoid this, dentists often recommend cleaning your teeth thoroughly and brushing your braces. For clear aligners, remove the device before each meal and clean your mouth (and the aligners) properly before putting it back in your mouth.

It Reduces the Risk of Braces Damage

Although it may not look like a possible cause of braces damage, poor hygiene when you have aligners on can actually damage your braces. Hard or sticky foods can get stuck in the brackets and wires, causing them to become loose or break over time. This can lead to additional visits to the orthodontist and delays in treatment.

Poor Hygiene Prolongs Treatment Time

Correcting misaligned teeth can take several weeks, months, or even years in some cases. Poor dental hygiene during your treatment can lead to prolonged treatment time, meaning you’ll have to spend more time on your braces and more money on your treatment.

When tooth decay or gum disease occurs during orthodontic treatment, it may be necessary to delay treatment until the condition is under control. Additionally, if the orthodontic appliance is damaged due to poor hygiene, it may be necessary to repair or replace it, which can also delay treatment.

It May Affect Your Teeth in the Future

Even if poor dental hygiene does not interfere with your treatment right away, it may impact your dental health negatively later in the future. While brackets and wires will help return your teeth to guide teeth into alignment, you don’t want to create new problems for yourself due to poor hygiene. You may end up with discolored teeth or a gum disease like gingivitis after your treatment is completed. This can be a lot to deal with because it reduces the satisfaction and fulfillment you would have gotten from getting straight and properly aligned teeth.

Braces and Wires Can Cause Discoloration

During orthodontic treatment, some patients may notice their teeth become brown or gray. This can result from necrosis, discoloration, or devitalization of the tooth pulp. It is worth noting that discoloration is relatively rare in patients undergoing orthodontic treatments. If you comply with hygiene instructions as recommended by the experts at Ballard Orthodontics, your treatment should go as planned, and you’ll end up with sparkling white and properly aligned teeth. But if you don’t, you may not like the appearance of your teeth after the treatment is completed, even if the treatment itself is successful.

Preventive Dentistry Helps Monitor the Progress of Orthodontic Treatment

Good dental hygiene is essential during orthodontic treatment, and preventive dentistry is key to maintaining good oral health. Preventive dentistry includes regular dental checkups and cleanings, which are critical for monitoring the health of your teeth and gums. During orthodontic treatment, it is especially important to schedule regular checkups with your dentist or orthodontist to ensure your teeth are healthy and identify any potential problems early on.

Tips for Maintaining Good Hygiene During Orthodontic Treatment

Your teeth require even more attention and care when you have braces or other orthodontic appliances on. Here are some basic hygiene tips to help keep your teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment and beyond.

  • Brush after every meal.
  • Use an interdental brush or floss threader.
  • Avoid hard or sticky foods.
  • Use a fluoride mouthwash.
  • Visit your orthodontist regularly.


Getting new braces installed in your teeth isn’t enough; maintaining good dental hygiene during orthodontic treatment is critical for achieving a healthy, beautiful smile. At Ballard Orthodontics, we encourage our patients to take preventive dentistry seriously and to establish good oral hygiene habits. Feel free to contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Regular checkups, brushing, and flossing are essential components of good dental hygiene, and they can help to ensure the success of your orthodontic treatment. With a little extra effort and attention to detail, you can achieve a healthy, beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime.