How To Prevent Tooth Decay While Wearing Braces
Wearing orthodontic appliances presents new challenges when it comes to maintaining your dental hygiene.
The nooks and crannies created by your braces’ brackets and wires can leave many areas where bacteria can attack if you don’t properly care for your teeth. And when your metal braces come off, you want to see a straight, white smile – not one dotted with decay or stains.
Behind every successful orthodontic treatment, there is not only a team of specialists and support staff but dedicated patients who are willing to go the extra mile to get the smile they wish.
Your life will undoubtedly change when you start wearing your metal braces. Eventually, it changes for the better. But at first, there are a lot of compromises you need to make.
Your orthodontic treatment will be as efficient as possible if you focus on two things: improving your dental hygiene habits and limiting what you eat and drink while you wear your orthodontic appliances.
Your Choice of Foods and Beverages Can Lead to Tooth Decay
Your oral hygiene depends greatly on your diet. Beyond the limitations established to protect your dental braces’ integrity, there are other details you should keep in mind to avoid additional complications.
You know by now that you have to avoid hard and sticky foods and like licorice candy, popcorn, and hard taco shells because they can dislodge your brackets. However, we want to focus on everything you’ve had to consider so far to keep your teeth healthy; you’ll have to dial it up to 11.
Sugary foods and beverages are tooth killers! Bits of food lodging on your teeth can now also get stuck in your brackets and between your dental braces’ wires.
These food particles stay in your mouth, feeding harmful bacteria. The acids they create, and the plaque buildup around your teeth, erode your tooth’s enamel and increase the likelihood of tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
Remember, when you are wearing dental braces, your choice of food and beverages can go a long way in preventing or promoting dental caries.
Brushing Your Way to a Great Oral Hygiene and Avoiding Tooth Decay
The second important aspect of preventing tooth decay is keeping good oral hygiene habits.
Use the appropriate toothbrush. You may need to switch to a soft-bristle one to avoid damaging your dental braces. Before you start cleaning your mouth, you should rinse your mouth to dislodge food particles and remove elastics, bands, or other appliance attachments.
Brush your teeth using a circular motion and when you move to the front of your teeth, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle at the gum line and start performing a sweeping motion. Please, spend enough time at each bracket, brushing below and above them to get rid of food particles around the bracket.
If at all possible, use a floss threader or interdental toothbrush to reach between your teeth and do your best to remove anything that may contribute to tooth decay, caries, and gum disease.
Remember to use fluoride toothpaste to reinforce your tooth enamel and promote your dental health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental hygiene is critical to avoid severe complications such as periodontal disease.
Wrapping It All Up
Dr. Nima, an Alpharetta orthodontist, offers the following tips to all of his patients.
- Brush properly. It may sound silly, but not everyone knows the proper brushing technique. To be the most accurate, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums. This allows you to clean the whole tooth better. Gently brush between the wires and your teeth, and use a soft-bristled brush. Always brush with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss regularly. It can be hard to get the floss under the wires of your metal braces, so use a floss threader if needed. If you’re unsure, you could ask your orthodontist for advice to help.
- Brush after every meal. Wearing braces makes it harder for the food particles to be washed away from drinking water or the natural rinsing of your saliva. Sometimes, these particles get stuck in metal braces, making it necessary to brush after each time you eat. If you can’t brush right away, rinse your mouth out with water.
- Eat a healthy diet. Avoid foods that are high in sugar or too acidic, as they can cause tooth decay or weaken the enamel, making them more susceptible to decay.
- Maintain regular checkups with your dentist. It would help if you visit your dentist every six months, and this is especially true while you are in orthodontic treatment. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to ensure optimum oral health.
Some patients may also benefit from using a Water Pik or Water Flosser to help keep the teeth clean. The pulsing water can help push out food particles that have become stuck in hard-to-reach places. A Waterpik is a great addition to at-home oral care.
“It is important to take the extra effort while in braces to keep your teeth as clean and healthy as possible,”
“My goal at the end of your treatment is for you to have the most beautiful and best functioning smile possible. We work hard to make that happen, and we don’t want to see all of your hard work negated by tooth decay,” says Dr. Nima.
Getting Help From a Professional Orthodontist
If you have any questions about your oral care routine while wearing metal braces, don’t hesitate to Call Dr. Nima’s office. He and his staff are always happy to answer your questions. Give us a call at (678) 338-8700 or click here to set your next appointment online.