Braces are an investment in time and money with the goal of achieving a healthier smile. Keeping braces (and the teeth beneath them) clean and healthy is an essential aspect of ensuring they do their job, as well as maximizing the patient’s comfort throughout the treatment. This means oral health issues like cavities can cause more problems for patients with braces than they would in a normal person.
Though your braces make it more difficult to brush and floss your teeth, you should still do everything you can to prevent cavities from forming during your treatment. Continue reading to learn about how you can prevent cavities with braces.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
Before You Get Braces
Before you even start your treatment, your orthodontist will make sure you don’t have any pre-existing cavities. If you do, they will want to fill them before your treatment to ensure the normal difficulties of wearing braces do not make these cavities worse.
An untreated cavity can cause all kinds of issues, including discomfort and tooth decay. A small cavity that goes unnoticed during your treatment can become serious, which is why the first way to prevent cavities with braces is to treat cavities before you get braces.
How Braces Get Dirty
Braces have many complicated parts, including brackets, wires, springs, elastic bands, screws, and more, depending on the appliance you need. Every surface of your braces is susceptible to collecting food, bacteria, and acids, all of which cause plaque to build up.
A buildup of plaque can eventually harden into what dentists call “tartar.” This porous super-plaque wears away your tooth enamel and can cause your teeth to become sensitive and eventually lose integrity. In this bacteria breeding ground, cavities can easily form.
How to Prevent Cavities During Treatment
Thankfully, plaque, tartar, cavities, and tooth decay are not inevitable parts of having braces. With the right treatment and care, they are all easily preventable. Here are 5 steps to keep in mind to prevent cavities from forming when you have braces:
Floss the right way
Flossing is tough with braces, but the plaque you need to worry about is hiding away in the cracks that you can’t get to unless you put in the extra effort. Tools like floss threaders, water picks, and more can help you reach these areas, which we recommend doing after every meal.
Brush more than usual
Brushing at least twice a day is even more imperative when you have braces. Oral hygiene and brushing go hand in hand, and you may have to put in a little more work to get the results your teeth need. This could include buying a soft electric toothbrush, using fluoride toothpaste, and brushing after every meal, things we recommend doing anyway, even without braces.
… and brush correctly
Brushing incorrectly, most orthodontists agree, is barely better than not brushing at all. Angle your toothbrush to address every face of your teeth. With braces, this means carefully brushing around every structure to find the hidden food debris that can cause plaque. Devote 30 seconds to brushing each of the four corners of your mouth so that your brushing routine is 2 minutes in total.
Eat and drink for your oral health
The list of dietary exclusions your orthodontist will give you at your first braces appointment may be difficult to follow sometimes. Not only does it prohibit hard snacks like candies, nuts, popcorn, chips, and more, but it also suggests giving up tough meat, bagels, corn on the cob, soda, and a lot of other foods.
Just remember this list is designed to give you the best chance at maintaining the best oral health during your treatment. Every time you break our fourth rule and eat or drink something you weren’t supposed to, double down on rules 1-3 to try and make up for it.
We already mentioned water picks, fluoride toothpaste, and floss threaders as useful new pieces of your oral hygiene arsenal. Also consider investing in antibacterial oral hygiene products such as antibacterial toothpaste and a germ-destroying mouthwash, which you can use 1-2 times per day.
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.