Preventing Tooth Decay While Wearing Braces [Five-Step Guide]

If you’re wearing braces, then you know they’re working hard to straighten your teeth. However, braces can make it difficult to easily cleaning your teeth. It is essential that you put some extra effort into keeping your teeth clean and preventing tooth decay while wearing braces or there can be serious consequences.

When your braces are finally removed by your orthodontist, you obviously want to see a beautiful, white smile, not decayed or stained teeth.

But there’s no need to dispair!

There are 5 simple things which you can do to ensure you have the smile you’ve always dreamed of once your braces are removed.

1. Use a Special Orthodontic Toothbrush & Interdental Brushes

The first weapon in the battle of preventing tooth tecay while wearing braces is your toothbrush!

However a regular toothbrush just doesn’t cut it when you’re wearing braces.

What you really need is an orthodontic toothbrush.

They are slim to fit in tight places between cheeks, gums and braces, they have soft flexible bristles that bend in behind brackets.

The next special brush you will need is an interdental brush so that you can effectively clean in between the braces and in around your wire.

This type of brush has bristles that are shaped like a Christmas tree that can remove food from tiny spaces in and around your teeth and braces.

2. Brush after Every Meal

Since braces block food from naturally escaping your teeth after eating, it’s important that you take the time to brush and floss after every meal.

The less time food is allowed to sit on your teeth, the less likely it is to cause decay.

Young woman brushing teeth to prevent tooth decay while wearing braces

This may seem like an inconvenience, but trust us, when you get your braces off, you will be very glad you brushed after every meal.

How to brush your teeth while wearing braces

Brushing your teeth when you have braces isn’t that much different than brushing your teeth without braces.

  • You still use a soft bristle toothbrush or electric toothbrush.
  • You still replace your toothbrush every 3 months, or sooner since the brackets on your braces might make the bristles wear down a little faster.
  • You still brush around all the parts of your teeth, including the fronts, sides, backs, chewing surfaces and on your gum line too.

Teeth without braces should be brushed for 2 minutes, however teeth with braces should be brushed for 4 minutes. 

Look closely at your teeth after you’ve finished brushing.  Ensure that your teeth are clean close to the brace and near your gums. 

If you can see the edges of the brackets clearly, you’ve done a good job!

Having wires that connect your braces from tooth to tooth makes flossing a challenge.

But with a bit of practice you can easily master it.

You just need to take your time, be careful and get under the gum line. 

Ask us for the different ways that you can floss around your braces.

We suggest using Super Floss which is specialised floss for orthodontic treatment that you can use as part of your routine when cleaning your teeth and can be purchased from either our Benowa or Helensvale rooms. 

3. Don’t Forget the Mouth Rinse

Even after properly brushing and flossing, there are probably some food particles in your braces.

It is essential that you put some extra effort into preventing tooth decay while wearing your braces.

A fluoride mouth rinse is the best way to ensure that every bit of food is removed after meals.

If you don’t have a mouth rinse available, we suggest using water — it’s better than nothing.

4. Avoid Sweets

When you’re trying to prevent tooth decay while wearing braces, it’s important to focus on prevention.

You want to stop the tooth decay, before it even has a chance to start!

If you can cut out decay-causing sugary foods from the outset, you’ll spend less time trying to treat problems in the future.

Try using one of our handy food guides if you need to figure out what you should and shouldn’t be eating during your treatment.

5. Get Regular Check-ups

Visit your dentist regularly while you are wearing braces.

We recommend a thorough cleaning every three to six months.

Orthodontist preventing tooth decay while wearing braces

Let either of our Gold Coast orthodontic practices know if you have questions about your oral health while in braces – our entire team is here to make sure your teeth are as beautifully straight as they are healthy!

The Negative Impact of Poor Oral Hygiene

Your braces can’t damage your teeth, but poor oral hygiene can, and that’s why we stress the importance of brushing and flossing when you have braces.

As long as you maintain good oral habits, your mouth will be happy for a lifetime.

You still replace your toothbrush every 3 months, or sooner since the brackets on your braces might make the bristles wear down a little faster.

Seeing your dentist for a cleaning every six months will prevent problems associated with poor oral hygiene.

Most poor oral hygiene problems affect people whether they have braces or not, but some problems are bigger when people with braces don’t brush and floss like they should.

Potential hygiene issues with braces

Gingivitis

Gingivitis (also known as gum disease) is the first stage of periodontal disease.

It’s usually painless, but signs like bleeding, or swollen and puffy gums are indicators that you have it.

This happens when plaque builds up around the gum line, so make sure to massage your gums lightly when you brush, as well as floss well along the gum line and in between the teeth.

Periodontitis

If not treated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis which is infection and inflammation in the gums that spreads to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth.

The gums start to pull away, forming gaps or pockets between your teeth that allow more plaque to accumulate.

Decalcifications

Decalcifications, sometimes called “white spots,” marks that develop if you fail to clean around your braces properly.

Lines and spots from decalcification remain on your teeth for life, so the best way to avoid them is to not let them develop at all.

The best way to do that is to brush, brush, brush!

Conslusion

It’s a big decision to go through orthodontic treatment, and so if you’ve made an investment in your smile, take the proper steps to ensure that you get the result at the end.

Follow this guide on a daily basis and when your braces come off, your smile will look amazing!

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