Preventing Common Issues While Wearing Braces

At Seabreeze Orthodontics, Dr. Juan and the team are passionate about helping you discover your smile. So when we hear our patients asking questions like, ‘How can I prevent common issues with braces?’, we go out of our way to make sure you have the answers you need. Let’s get into it! 

The Importance of Oral Hygiene During Treatment 

If you or someone in your family is wearing braces, you’re well on your way to a beautiful, straight smile. However, this journey comes with its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Braces are incredible tools for correcting dental issues, but they also require us to step up our oral care game to prevent common problems like plaque buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay.

The road to a perfect smile with braces doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right knowledge and tools at your disposal, you can prevent these dental issues and ensure your orthodontic treatment is as smooth and successful as possible. 

While braces and other orthodontic procedures are important for many of us to get and keep the smile of our dreams, they come with their own unique challenges when it comes to staying in tip-top dental health. Let’s take a look at a few of these now: 

Navigating Around Brackets and Wires

One of the biggest issues you’ll face is simply learning how to properly clean your teeth with brackets and wires in the way. These orthodontic appliances create nooks and crannies that can trap food particles and plaque, making them harder to clean. 

Increased Risk of Gum Disease

With braces, your gums could be more susceptible to inflammation and disease. This is because plaque and food particles can accumulate more easily around your braces, leading to gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to more serious forms of gum disease, affecting the health of your teeth and potentially the success of your orthodontic treatment.

Tooth Decay and White Spots

Maintaining a clean mouth is crucial when you have braces, as the risk of tooth decay increases. The areas around the brackets are particularly vulnerable. If plaque is allowed to accumulate, it can lead to demineralization of the tooth enamel, causing white spots, cavities, and, in severe cases, tooth loss.  

Preventing Common Issues While Wearing Braces

Basic Oral Hygiene Practices

Your biggest ally during orthodontic treatment will be a robust oral hygiene routine. Here are some fundamental practices to incorporate into your daily routine to ensure your mouth stays healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment.

Brushing Techniques for Braces

  • Choose the Right Toothbrush: Opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush designed for braces. These are gentle on your gums and effective at removing plaque around the brackets and wires.
  • Brushing Method: Brush at a 45-degree angle to clean both the top and bottom of the brackets. Be sure to brush under the wires as well. Spend at least two minutes brushing, covering all surfaces of your teeth and braces.
  • Frequency: Brush your teeth after every meal and snack. If brushing isn’t immediately possible, rinse your mouth with water to dislodge any food particles stuck in your braces.

Flossing with Braces

  • Using Floss Threaders: Floss threaders are a lifesaver for getting dental floss under the wires of your braces. Use a gentle sawing motion to clean between your teeth and along the gum line.
  • Waxed Floss: Opt for waxed floss as it’s less likely to catch on your braces. Be gentle to avoid damaging the wires and brackets.
  • Frequency: Floss at least once a day, ideally before bedtime, to remove any food particles and plaque that brushing alone can’t reach.

Rinsing for Additional Protection

  • Fluoride Mouthwash: Try adding fluoride mouthwash into your daily routine. It helps reduce the risk of tooth decay by strengthening the tooth enamel and can reach areas that are difficult to clean with brushing and flossing alone.
  • Rinsing After Meals: Dr. Juan and the team know that you can’t always brush immediately after eating, so try rinsing your mouth with water or fluoride mouthwash. This helps remove food particles and reduces the risk of plaque buildup.

Diet and Lifestyle 

It may sound obvious, but what you eat and drink has a big impact on your oral health. And that goes double for during orthodontic treatment! 

So what’s the deal? What sorts of foods and drinks are the most problematic, and how can I make my orthodontic journey go just a little more smoothly? That’s what this section is all about! 

Diet Considerations

With braces, it’s most important to avoid hard and sticky foods since they can damage your orthodontic appliances and lead to dental issues. Instead, focus on softer, nutritious options like steamed vegetables, soft fruits, and lean proteins, which are easier on your braces and beneficial for your teeth and gums. 

Additionally, you’ll want to keep sugary foods and beverages to the occasional treat in order to prevent plaque buildup around brackets.

Hydration and Lifestyle

We all need to drink more water as it is, but it’s definitely a big part of a successful course of orthodontic treatment! In fact, water is your best friend, helping to rinse away food particles and reduce the risk of tooth decay. 

Try replacing sugary drinks with water to keep your mouth clean and hydrated. In terms of lifestyle, adopt protective measures like wearing a mouthguard during sports to safeguard your braces and teeth from potential damage. Avoid habits that can harm your braces, such as chewing on hard objects or using your teeth as tools.

By making these targeted diet and lifestyle adjustments, you can protect your braces, prevent dental issues, and support your journey towards a healthier, straighter smile.

Preventing Common Issues While Wearing Braces

Come In & See Us! 

Lastly, be sure to come in and see us at Seabreeze Orthodontics! Keeping your appointments is super important, and if you haven’t met us yet and you’re looking for leading orthodontic care in or around Myrtle Beach, you’ve found your practice! Dr. Juan and the team love what we do, and your consultation is always 100% free of charge! We can’t wait to get started!