Orthodontics & Dental Hygiene

Healthy vs unhealthy.

You already know that maintaining good oral hygiene is important for everyone — but when you're having orthodontic treatment, it's even more critical. Why? Because, while the appliances (such as braces or clear aligners) you may need to wear during treatment are very effective in correcting misaligned teeth, they can also trap food particles easily. Keeping your teeth (and your appliances) clean is a little harder — but you can do it! Here's a look at why good oral hygiene is so important during orthodontic treatment, and some tips on how you can keep it up.

The major enemy of oral health is plaque. Food that becomes trapped near tooth surfaces can lead to the formation of plaque — a thin coating of microorganisms and organic debris (biofilm) containing potentially harmful bacteria. Braces or other appliances make it harder to remove plaque. The bacteria in plaque digest the sugars in food, producing acids which may erode teeth and irritate gums. This can cause cavities, white spots on teeth, gum disease and bad breath.

Keeping plaque under control is one of the most effective means of maintaining strong, healthy teeth and gums. There are three general ways to do it: through diet, daily maintenance, and regular professional care. Taken all together, they're your teeth's best defense.

Diet and Decay

Controlling your diet involves avoiding foods that could increase your risk of developing tooth decay. That means cutting down or eliminating foods with an excess of sugar, like soda, sweets, and ice cream. It also means avoiding foods that could easily become stuck in your braces, like toffee, gum, licorice and caramels.

Foods that are very hard or extremely sticky can also cause physical damage to orthodontic appliances. Certainly braces or retainers with broken wires or loose brackets aren't working to straighten your teeth! You should avoid foods like hard candies or nuts, beef jerky and hard pizza crust. Keep eating healthy foods like carrots and apples — but cut them into bite-sized pieces first! And don't chew on ice, pencils, or your nails: these habits can cause damage to your appliances, and even result in chipped teeth!

Daily Maintenance

You know how important brushing and flossing are for keeping a healthy smile — especially now that you're in orthodontic treatment. But sometimes it's harder to clean your teeth effectively around an appliance's brackets and wires. Here are some tools and tips you can try for better tooth cleaning.

Either a soft-bristle or a bi-level toothbrush (one with longer bristles on the edges and shorter ones in the middle) can be effective in plaque removal — even with braces. An electric toothbrush can also be used, on a moderate setting. For hard-to-clean areas, try an interdental brush, or proxabrush. The small bristles of this special tooth-cleaning aid, which is shaped like a pipe cleaner, can get in between wires, brackets and teeth. With gentle and persistent effort, it's possible to reach into the smallest nooks and crannies, and control plaque buildup.

You should floss at least once a day during orthodontic treatment. While it's a little harder to do with braces, there are some special products available — including floss threaders and particular kinds of floss — that can help you get the floss between wires and gum line. The office staff will review proper brushing and flossing techniques with you when your braces are put on — but if you ever have questions, don't hesitate to ask!

Depending on your situation, an in-office or at-home supplemental fluoride treatment may be recommended to boost your cavity resistance. An antiseptic rinse may also be recommended, to ease minor gum inflammation or irritation.

If you have a retainer, it should be brushed daily, the same way you brush your teeth. A cleaning solution may be recommended — but never put hot water on your retainer, because it can distort the soft plastic and make it unusable! And always keep it in a case when it's not in your mouth.

Professional Care

During orthodontic treatment, it's as important as ever to make sure your teeth stay healthy with thorough examinations, cleanings and preventive care. Your orthodontic treatment is a team effort where everyone has an important role to play. And the team has just one goal: giving you a winning smile.

Related Articles

Orthodontics - Dear Doctor Magazine

The Magic of Orthodontics Proper alignment of the teeth is basic to “Smile Design.” Their position dictates how they work together and affects the way you look and smile. Only orthodontic treatment can move teeth into the right position. Simply put, when things look right, they probably are right. Learn the basics of smile analysis and design and whether the magic of orthodontics will work for you... Read Article

Tooth Decay - Dear Doctor Magazine

Tooth Decay — A Preventable Disease Tooth decay is the number one reason children and adults lose teeth during their lifetime. Yet many people don't realize that it is a preventable infection. This article explores the causes of tooth decay, its prevention, and the relationship to bacteria, sugars, and acids... Read Article

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

The office is open alternating Wednesdays and Fridays!

Primary Location

Monday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

  • "This dental office rocks! Dr. M. & all her staff are knowledable, professional, & all very friendly."
    Lisa Griffith
  • "The entire staff at Ahh Dental are amazing. From the moment you walk in to the treatment area and checking out. Dr. Moreschini is very nice and makes sure patients are comfortable with any treatment. I would recommend everyone and anyone to Ahh dental!"
    Stephanie Lovato
  • "Excellent service and a great staff."
    Herman Lujan
  • "This team is awesome! Each and every one of them are present when you are talking and they explain everything in a language you can follow. They each have a heart of gold. I recommend then to all. I will never go anywhere else for my dental care."
    Regan Rezac
  • "Dr. Moreschini is not only intelligent, well-versed, articulate in diagnosis as well as treatment, but kind and gracious in her treatment administrations. I knew, a year ago, Ahh Dental would be my dental home. I’m even more vested now as a patient but also as a “family member” to this exceprional team of people who strive to provide the best outcome for their patients. Thank you, Ahh Dental"
    Sabine Stanley
  • "I loved this dental office. When I moved away from Santa Fe, I was sincerely sad because it also meant saying goodbye to a dentist I could trust!"
    Jennifer Quick
  • "The patient comes first. The front desk, hygienist and dentist all work together to get you in the healthy zone. The office seems to be run professionally with all the insurance processes integrated."
    John Urbanowski
  • "Best dentist and caring staff."
    Yvonne Vigil
  • "From the front staff to my dental hygienist, everyone was so friendly and personable. Ahh Dental made me fill at ease and that my concerns were important. Very efficient, awesome experience."
    Barbara
  • "I visited Ahh Dental for the first time earlier today and it was one of the most positive experiences I've had at a dental office. I am actually looking forward to my next appointment. Everyone was extremely pleasant and attentive. If you are new to town, or just looking for a new dentist I highly recommend Ahh Dental."
    Kelse Lighthizer
  • "Amazing place! Amazing staff! Everyone that works there is so friendly and down to earth. Honestly wish I could come back all the time I enjoy it so much. Went above and beyond, very highly recommended!!"
    Jordan Higgins
  • "One of my top dental experiences. Everyone was very kind, knowledgeable, and professional."
    Diann Darnall
  • "Highly recommend Ahh Dental. Dr Moreschini is one the the best Dentist who is not only professional but cares about her patients and their well being. She has an excellent staff who are very helpful and also very professional!!"
    Marcella Sandoval
  • "This place is great! Super friendly and welcoming staff! I actually enjoy going to the dentist here! Really recommend them!"
    Oscar Rivera
  • "Dr and staff are the best! Always professional and friendly. They’re current about best dental practices, and the best thing? They don’t nickel and dime you to death. Love them!"
    Susan Miera
  • "Ahh Dental has a wonderful atmosphere and an awesome staff. My appointments and procedures have all been very pleasant and professional - thank you Ahh Dental for my happy teeth and big smile."
    Cherie Hughes
  • "It’s a pleasure sitting in Dr. Moreschini’s chair. She’s a stellar graduate of Creighton and a wonderful reminder of the Marquette University dentists I had for thirty years. She is always a pleasure to work with, efficient and excellent at pain prevention and management. This young woman is my third dentist in three years in Santa Fe. Unquestionably the best."
    Mark Janssen
  • "I'm so glad that I found Dr Renae. She's great to work with . Feel very at ease with her and her staff. Great people. Highly recommend her. Thanks Dr."
    John Vigil
  • "Very clean, conscientious about Coronavirus. Prompt, friendly, quality work"
    Victor Nelson
  • "I had a wonderful experience at Ahh Dental. Everyone was truly kind and professional. Everything was explained to me beforehand and they made sure I was comfortable and felt at ease. Dr. M.and her staff truly care about their patients. Thank you for making my dental appointment a positive one."
    Georgina Perez
  • "Excellent Ahh Dental was very professional and provided me with great care . You can definitely trust Doctor and staff. Procedures were pain free and the work that had been done is excellent you can not get any better service than that."
    Virginia Salazar
  • "Never had a more comprehensive exam and cleaning by dentist and Roxanne, the hygienist. They fortunately found two cavities that two other dentists had missed altogether.!!! a VERY BIG DEAL. also had to have a molar pulled and Dr. Moreshini was so skilled that I didn't even feel it at all! I learned so much from Roxanne about how decay happens, how to prevent tooth decay, how to effectively and affordable whiten my teeth.

    Amazing clinic... Everyone should experience this attention and care for their oral health care."
    Claudia Wolfe