Before getting braces, many people ask how to maintain their oral health during treatment. Keeping teeth healthy is not only important for its own sake, but essential for making sure that braces do their job effectively. Since cavities are the most common dental ailment, it may be worrisome to think about getting one while you have braces and not being able to treat it for months.
Can you get your cavities filled with braces? The answer is yes. Cavities under any circumstances should be treated quickly so they don’t worsen. This is why regular visits to your dentist, combined with your at-home cleaning regime, are just as important, if not more so, when you have braces.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
How Braces Impact Oral Health
Braces give you a healthier smile, so it may seem counter-intuitive that they could have a negative impact on your teeth. However, the brackets and wires of your braces provide many places for plaque to hide and build up. Untreated plaque can lead to tartar, which can then lead to cavities or even tooth decay.
To prevent this from happening, your dentist’s normal recommended cleaning regimen is still important: brushing with a toothpaste containing fluoride at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day (on both sides of each tooth), and using an antibacterial mouthwash once a day or after meals. However, braces can make these habits more difficult to maintain or even less effective.
Braces get in the way when you floss and brush, making it more important to take your time and make sure you address every nook and cranny of your mouth. Your orthodontist can give you threaders that allow you to floss under your wire. It takes longer but can help prevent plaque and cavities. They will also give you diet advice that includes giving up sugary drinks, candies, chips, and other cavity-causing foods while wearing your braces.
What If I Still Get a Cavity?
Despite your best efforts, it’s still possible to get a cavity while wearing braces. Thankfully, your dentist can treat you even while your braces are on. They may need your orthodontist to remove the wire first, but the process of taking it off and on is quick and simple. Brackets sometimes need to be removed as well, but your orthodontist will be able to do that too.
Cavity treatment is a quick routine, even with braces. Since tooth decay can worsen without treatment, it’s important to keep up your twice-yearly dentist checkup, cleanings, and X-rays to make sure that you don’t have any new cavities. Those who are prone to cavities due to their diet or habits may need to be extra careful with braces. Since older patients are more prone to cavities, if you’re one of the millions of adults who have decided to get braces, you may need to do more than your younger counterparts to keep your teeth healthy.
When following your orthodontist’s diet and oral hygiene advice still isn’t enough, there are a few things you can do to try and prevent cavities. These include:
- Drinking plenty of water, which is not only healthy but can rinse your teeth – since public water contains fluoride, consider rinsing your mouth from the tap.
- Eating less frequently – grazing on snacks frequently or sipping coffee for hours throughout the morning puts your teeth at a greater risk for developing cavities.
- Consider teeth-friendly foods – certain foods increase saliva production, which can cleanse your teeth. In addition to avoiding foods that get stuck between your teeth and which contain sugar, consider adding more fresh fruits and veggies, sugar-free coffee and tea, and sugar-free gum to your diet.
- Treating your heartburn – since heartburn can cause reflux, which may result in stomach acid contacting your teeth and damaging your enamel, treating heartburn could help you stave off tooth decay.
- Preventing dry mouth – dry mouth can be caused by diet, lack of hydration, certain medications, and certain medical conditions. Since it also prevents your saliva from doing its job of killing the acid produced by oral bacteria, treating dry mouth can give you a fighting chance against cavities.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.