Preventing Tooth Decay while Wearing Braces
While some of us are lucky and born with straight teeth, the majority of us require orthodontic treatment to fix crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. Not only does orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign or Insignia Braces straighten our teeth and improve our smiles, it also reduces any health complications such as gingivitis and tooth decay that can be caused by these orthodontic issues. While some of us inherit crooked teeth from our parents, others can result from thumb sucking, accidents, and environmental factors.
Making the decision to receive orthodontic treatment to fix any oral health issues is fantastic, however just because you’re undertaking treatment doesn’t mean you can be relaxed about your oral hygiene. In fact, it’s more important than ever to maintain good oral health whilst having Insignia Braces because the brackets and wires allows food particles to get caught easily and plaque more difficult to clean.
Patients who have braces are at greater risk of developing tooth decay simply because cleaning their mouth properly is more challenging with metal brackets stuck to their teeth. To give you some insight, today we’ll be discussing how to prevent tooth decay while wearing braces.
Tooth Decay & Braces
Everyone has bacteria in their mouth and whenever we eat and drink, our bacteria produces acids which is good for our stomachs but bad for our teeth. These acids begin eating the protective enamel that coats the surface of your teeth through a process called demineralisation where white spots begin to form on your teeth.
If these acids aren’t cleaned properly, they’ll progress through the enamel and into the softer dentin underneath which is how cavities are formed. If any of your teeth develop a cavity, you’ll likely experience chewing pain, toothaches, and sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and food. If a tooth cavity is left untreated, the tooth will begin decaying where its pulp will become infected along with developing painful abscesses. This highlights the importance of regularly visiting your dentist to have your teeth thoroughly cleaned.
Preventing tooth decay
The best way to prevent tooth decay while wearing braces is to brush your teeth at least twice a day and ideally after every meal. Of course, brushing your teeth properly is more difficult when wearing braces, so you’ll need to put in some extra effort to ensure you’ve removed all the plaque and food particles. You should start by rinsing your mouth with water to loosen any food particles caught between your brackets. If your orthodontist has fitted you with rubber bands, remove them before brushing your teeth.You should use a small, soft, and compact toothbrush along with using fluoride toothpaste.
Begin gently brushing at the gumline in a circular motion by holding your toothbrush at a 450 angle, then angle your brushstrokes down so they clean the top of your brackets. With the same kind of brushstroke, slowly and gently clean the bottom of your brackets by angling your brushstrokes upwards. Brush in and around each bracket by pressing your toothbrush firmly so that the bristles spread into the gaps between the wire and the tooth. Repeat this process ensuring you spend at least 10 seconds on each tooth.
You should ideally floss your teeth twice a day and it’s far easier to use a floss threader instead of regular floss when wearing braces. Along with brushing and flossing, you should also rinse your mouth with fluoride mouthwash for protection against germs and bacteria after drinking and eating. If you don’t have any mouthwash, then water is better than nothing.
As you’re probably aware, some foods and drinks contain more sugars and acids than others which can damage tooth enamel if consumed frequently. Try to eat bananas, mangoes, and melons rather than apples, oranges, and pineapple which have a high acid content. Also try to avoid soda drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juices as they contain a huge amount of sugar (a can of Coca Cola has 12 teaspoons)!
To ensure your mouth stays healthy during your orthodontic treatment, regularly visit your dentist every 6 months for a thorough cleaning. Patience and diligence is the key to success with braces, so if you have any further questions about how to prevent tooth decay, simply phone the friendly team at Clear Smiles Orthodontics on the Gold Coast on 07 5593 3733.