The availability of tray-style braces such as Invisalign has made orthodontics a lot easier for many people to handle. However, one big adjustment has been the relationship between the wearer, food, and tooth brushing. When you use tray-style braces instead of traditional brackets, you have to be careful about brushing your teeth after every meal and snack. This is about more than just good hygiene; it's about protecting your teeth and your orthodontic progress plan.
First, brushing your teeth and removing food debris helps prevent odors. If you eat and get food stuck on or between your teeth, and then you put these trays back on, the food debris can start to stink after a while. Because the trays are on your teeth, you won't be able to easily get rid of the smell by chewing gum or using breath mints. It's better to brush and floss to ensure you're not trapping food against your teeth for several hours.
Removing food debris by brushing also helps prevent stains. Brushing removes debris that can cause tartar/plaque to form; this plaque can become stained when exposed to staining food and drink like berries and coffee. So, if you remove the debris that can lead to plaque formation, you reduce the chances of stains remaining on your teeth.
Also, if you leave staining food debris on your teeth and then trap the debris by putting the trays back on, you can end up with uneven stains, with darker spots where the debris was concentrated. Any existing plaque in that area that you weren't able to prevent will stain from the food, creating dark spots on your teeth. Your dentist can clean these off, of course, but why let them form in the first place?
If you end up with something really caught in your teeth, that could potentially interfere with tooth movement according to your orthodontic plan. When you have the trays made, you have several made that each show progression in terms of tooth movement. What you don't want to do is end up with food trapped between your teeth, interfering with how your teeth are supposed to move. That might not sound like such a big risk because chances are you'll brush and floss your teeth during the evening. However, the plans for your teeth movements are precise, and you don't want anything to end up delaying progress.
Your orthodontist can discuss a brushing and flossing schedule with you. Your meals and snacks will definitely change as you use the trays because you can't keep the trays out for very long. It's best to know exactly what to do after a meal so you can get the trays back into your mouth as quickly as possible.
To learn more, contact an orthodontist.