Oral Hygiene

adult man flossing in front of a mirror copy

At Heller Orthodontics, your local Bethesda and Laurel orthodontist, we believe good orthodontia begins with great oral hygiene. A good oral hygiene routine can not only improve your dental and orthodontic health, but it can actually increase your overall bodily health as well. Most mouth or tooth problems are completely preventable and can be avoided with good brushing and flossing. We all want a beautiful, bright smile to show off, and the best way to achieve that is through oral hygiene. The Heller Orthodontics team and Dr. Heller are passionate about oral hygiene and we want to ensure that each and every patient can avoid harmful mouth diseases and other bodily conditions caused by bacteria and tooth decay. Learn how you too can create an easy to follow, oral health routine for a beautiful smile!

Keeping An Oral Health Routine

Regular dental visits play a critical role in maintaining your oral health — not only to find and remedy any problems with teeth or gums, but also to assess the general condition of your oral health. In between visits, the best way to keep your teeth clean and free of disease, your gums pink and healthy, and your breath fresh, is a program of daily oral hygiene. Your regular routine should include the following:

  • How to Brush Your Teeth Brushing & Flossing: You should brush after you eat. At a minimum brush at least twice a day and floss at least once daily. This will help remove plaque, a bacteria-laden biofilm, from the surfaces of your teeth. The bacteria in plaque can turn sugars from food into acids, which attack the tooth's enamel and cause tooth decay. Some bacteria can also cause gingivitis and other gum diseases.
  • Fluoride:Make sure you're getting the proper amount of fluoride. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel — it's essential for children's developing teeth, and helps prevent decay in both kids and adults. Even if your municipal water is fluoridated, you should always use fluoride toothpaste. We also recommend a fluoride rinse (PhosFlur) to help protect the areas that braces make it difficult to reach.
  • How to Floss Your Teeth Limit Sugary Snacks: Sugary snacks are the perfect fuel for decay-causing bacteria — and when eaten throughout the day, they keep the acid constantly on the attack. So give your mouth a break, and (if you allow them) limit sugary treats at mealtime.
  • Mouthrinse: Use an appropriate mouthrinse if necessary, ask Heller Orthodontics for brand recommendations. Therapeutic mouthrinses do more than temporarily mask bad smells or tastes in your mouth — they can improve your overall oral hygiene. Therapeutic rinses contain anti-bacterial and anti-cariogenic (cavity-fighting) ingredients. Using a mouthrinse has been proven to control plaque bacteria and prevent cavities better than brushing and flossing alone.
  • Quit Tobacco:Whether smoked or vaped, tobacco use greatly increases your risk of oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay (not to mention heart disease and lung cancer… but you already knew that). If you use tobacco, ask us how to quit now.
  • Examine Your Mouth Regularly: Once you've established a regular routine, you'll quickly recognize any changes in your mouth — like chipped teeth, red or swollen gums, or unusual sores. If you find something of concern, let us know. Early treatment offers the best chance to remedy many problems.

A major goal of modern dentistry and orthodontia is to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime. By following a conscientious program of oral hygiene, you have the best chance at making this goal a reality.

Call Your Local Bethesda & Laurel Orthodontist Today!

For any and all oral hygiene questions or concerns, please never hesitate to ask the experienced team at Heller Orthodontics. We will be more than happy to help you and point out any areas that could use more preventive care to avoid cavities and tooth decay. To schedule your next appointment, call one of our offices in Bethesda or Laurel directly or fill out our easy online form! We look forward to seeing you soon!