October is National Orthodontics Month

With more than 1.2 million U.S. adults currently sporting braces, celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month by learning more about orthodontists and how they do more than give people a better-looking smile.

According to MouthHealthy.com, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is the formal name of the dental specialty concerned with the diagnosis, prevention, intervention, guidance and correction of bad bites.

The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy bite — straight teeth that properly meet opposing teeth in the opposite jaw. A good bite makes it easier for you to bite, chew and speak.

If your teeth are crowded, protrusive, spaced too far apart, meet in an abnormal way or do not meet at all, correction may be recommended. If you have an abnormal bite your dentist may recommend braces or another orthodontic treatment to straighten out your smile. Correcting the problem can create a nice-looking smile, but more importantly, orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth. Not correcting an abnormal bite could result in further oral health problems, including tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss and jaw problems.

Braces and aligners are the “appliances” orthodontists most commonly use to guide your teeth into their proper positions. Retainers preserve and stabilize the results of your orthodontic treatment.

Since abnormal bites usually become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, orthodontic treatment often begins between ages 8 and 14. Treatment that begins while a child is growing helps produce optimal results. In the past, orthodontic treatment was associated with children and teens, but today many adults seek orthodontic treatment to correct long-standing problems, or problems that stem from maturational changes.

For more information on orthodontics, visit mylifesmile.org.

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Top Oral Care Tips Related to ADULT ORTHODONTICS

  • Flossing – creating a flossing routine is important during orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists and hygienists may recommend interdental brushes or floss threaders to make getting in between teeth easier.

  • Brushing routine – using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush are ideal for cleaning teeth with braces. Begin brushing at a 45-degree angle at the gum line using small circular motions. Then place the toothbrush on top of the brackets, angling down to brush on top of each bracket. Finally, reposition the brush to brush the bottom of the bracket as well as the wire, angling the toothbrush up.

  • Fluoride mouthwash – after brushing and flossing, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash to help prevent cavities and white spots.

  • Mouthguards – wear a mouthguard if you play sports. Mouthguards can protect your cheeks and lips from serious cuts and can prevent damage to your braces or orthodontic appliance if you fall down or are hit in the face.