Cook Orthodontics

22032 El Paseo
Suite 210
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Phone: 949-589-7820
Fax: 949-589-2301

Oral Hygiene

Taking Care of your Teeth While in Orthodontic Treatment

Following a regular oral hygiene routine at home is a very important part of orthodontic treatment. Here at the office of Cook Orthodontics in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, we want to make sure that patients and parents understand the importance of maintaining a daily oral hygiene regimen, and know how to take care of their teeth and gums while out of our office.

When you have braces on, thorough cleaning of the teeth becomes more difficult due to the presence of wires, brackets and bands. It is common for plaque to build up around the brackets, which can cause demineralization of tooth enamel. Demineralization is what causes white spots to appear on the teeth after braces are removed. By maintaining a routine oral care regimen at home, you can help prevent this as well more serious problems like gum disease. For the best results after your braces come off, follow the tips and guidelines offered by our RSM and Mission Viejo orthodontist below.



Interdental Toothbrush

An interdental toothbrush, or proxabrush, is a great tool that you can use to clean those hard-to-reach areas between your teeth and braces. Unlike a regular toothbrush, it has the ability to clean under wires and around the brackets. You should use an interdental toothbrush slowly and carefully to avoid damaging your appliance.

Antibacterial Mouthwash

Peroxyl, a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse helps to prevent infection and decrease irritation on your lips, cheeks or gums that may develop from your braces. To use, rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of Peroxyl (half a capful) for one minute and then spit it out. You may use Peroxyl up to four times daily following your schedule for brushing: after meals (or after school) and before bed. Just like using peroxide for a scrape on your skin, Peroxyl helps the inside of your mouth heal. Peroxyl can also be used for canker sores, cheek bites and other minor temporary injuries to the gums.

Topical Fluoride

Phos-Flur is a sodium fluoride gel that helps prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces by killing bacteria and replacing minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to harmful acids. The use of Phos-Flur does not replace daily brushing and flossing but should be done following your daily schedule at bedtime. To use:

  • Place a small strip of Phos-Flur on a toothbrush and apply it to your teeth for one minute and spit it out. 
  • You may not eat or drink for 30 minutes after you use Phos-Flur. 
  • It is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes, so do not wash it away by eating or drinking.

Cleaning Your Removable Appliance

If you have a retainer or other removable orthodontic appliance, it is important to brush it every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. Food particles and plaque can accumulate on your appliance just as they do on your teeth, so you should soak the appliance daily to prevent build up. Soak the appliance in a glass of tap water at room temperature mixed with Polident, Efferdent or other denture-cleaning tablet every day. Your appliance will taste better, and it will be cleaner!

If you follow the above steps on a daily basis, you can avoid unwanted demineralization or future gum disease, and ensure healthy teeth and gums during and after braces or any other orthodontic treatment. If you have any questions about oral hygiene, please contact our Rancho Santa Margarita, CA office and we will happy to assist you. We serve families throughout RSM, Mission Viejo, Coto de Caza, Ladera Ranch and Lake Forest, CA.