Tooth decay is a very common problem. It occurs when bacteria is allowed to build up and form plaque. The acidic quality of this plaque damages the enamel on your teeth and creates holes that become cavities. If left untreated, cavities only get bigger and cause additional problems. Teeth will become more sensitive to hot and cold. Without timely treatment, cavities will lead to a tooth abscess, extensive tooth decay, a tooth fracture, or eventually tooth loss.
When you are wearing braces, cavities can be even more of an issue. Though braces do not cause cavities, they do increase the amount of food caught between the teeth, and substantially increases the risk of cavities. Oral hygiene becomes even more important when wearing braces.
Before you begin orthodontic treatment, it is crucial that you first visit with your dentist. Your dentist will make sure you are cavity free. If you have any cavities, they need to be filled before starting with your braces.
When you begin orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist will provide you with detailed instructions on how to keep your teeth clean and maintain good oral hygiene. Here are a few tips to help prevent cavities while wearing braces:
• Bush your teeth after each meal and every snack. Additional brushing while wearing braces goes a long way toward keeping your teeth clean and free from plaque.
• Flossing is even more important when you have braces. Flossing is more difficult because of the wires in your mouth, but don’t let this difficulty prevent you from flossing. Your orthodontist should be able to show you how to floss while wearing braces.
• You should also be using a mouthwash during your orthodontic treatment. This will help kill any remaining bacteria in your mouth, and is part of a proper oral hygiene routine.
• You can use other tools to remove food particles. Waterpiks are a good choice when wearing braces. Waterpiks clean with a forced jet spray of water; they are perfect for removing food particles that are difficult to reach. They also help you avoid damages your braces when removing food from between your teeth.
• Your orthodontist will give you a list of foods to avoid. Follow this advice carefully as sticky, hard, and crunchy foods can bend and break braces. You should also limit the amounts of sugary foods and soda while wearing braces (or any time!).
For as long as you live, excellent oral hygiene is important to the condition of your teeth and to your overall health. When wearing braces, it is even more important to step up your game when it comes to brushing, flossing, eating right, and taking care of your beautiful smile!