Top 3 Reasons to keep teeth clean with Braces

Halloween is a fun time of year for kids of all ages, but it can be a nightmare waiting to happen if patients are damaging their expensive dental appliances when eating the wrong treats. But before you dig into that trick-or-treat candy that you’ve been craving all year, it’s important to note that October is also National Dental Hygiene and Orthodontic Awareness Month!

While a few pieces of candy may seem harmless, they can cause real destruction to teeth fitted with braces.

Wait—does that mean you avoid candy completely during this spooky season??? 

We don’t mean to give you a fright! Candy and sweets are okay to eat, but there are some important rules to keeping teeth clean and free of that sweet debris when you have braces.

Girl smiling with braces and holding a toothbrush and teeth cleaning tool

Top 3 reasons to keep those braces-clad teeth clean:

1. Teeth with Braces Can Collect More Plaque.

All mouths are prone to forming plaque, but teeth with braces are especially susceptible to plaque buildup.

But what exactly is plaque and why should you care? Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria, and too much plaque can lead to a plethora of problems including gum disease and tooth decay if not properly removed through adequate brushing and flossing. Plaque utilizes the sugars in food to produce acids that erode your enamel away, causing cavities and a host of other dental issues, so it’s best to brush teeth four times a day with a ADA-approved toothpaste containing fluoride every time after eating when you have braces to prevent plaque from forming. You’ll also want to adhere to a daily flossing routine.

 

2. Teeth May Have Cosmetic Damage If Not Properly Cleaned.

It’s a sad day when the teeth you’ve been so excited to see in the mirror without braces have chalky spots and discolored marks on them when your braces are finally removed. Unfortunately, this happens to people who don’t keep their teeth cleaned properly during their time in braces. These chalky marks and discolored spots are from a process called decalcification, which occurs in about 50% of teens with braces.

Decalcification doesn’t have to happen to you, though! The decalcification happens when plaque isn’t properly removed from around the gumline of teeth and brackets of braces. The plaque that builds up on the surfaces and between your teeth creates acids which deplete your tooth’s enamel of minerals over time, which is what creates those unsightly marks on the teeth. Again, brushing and flossing helps to prevent this, but it’s what you brush with that really matters. Using a special V-shaped toothbrush or an electric toothbrush designed for braces is the most surefire method to avoiding decalcification. And, of course, visiting your dentist every six months to have a proper deep cleaning done of teeth is absolutely essential to preventing plaque from causing permanent harm to your teeth.

 

3. It Might Take Longer for Teeth to Straighten Without Proper Oral Hygiene.

Not cleaning your teeth properly when you have braces can actually cause a disruption in your orthodontist’s plans to straighten your teeth. How can this happen? Simply put, without proper oral hygiene, you might have complications like cavities or infections that must be addressed to prevent you from losing your teeth permanently, and oral health issues like that may require brackets and wires to be removed by your orthodontist so that your dentist can fix the problem at hand. This might lead to teeth returning to their original crooked position or shifts in straight teeth. Fortunately, these kinds of setbacks can be avoided by brushing your teeth adequately and flossing correctly.

Brush the teeth at about a 45-degree angle. First, gently brush the top of the brackets, followed by the bottom of the brackets and the wire. Having special, interdental brushes, will help you reach the tooth’s surface more efficiently and help you navigate around the brackets and wires in order to clean every tooth thoroughly. Then, floss with a floss threader to help make flossing easier for you to navigate.

 

Even during a candy-filled holiday like Halloween, oral hygiene is important to maintaining the beautiful, straight smile that you’ve always dreamed of once your braces are removed. If you haven’t been fitted with braces yet but are ready to commit to a straighter smile, reach out to Island Orthodontics today at (251) 968-1310 (in the Baldwin area) or (251) 344-7604 (in the Mobile area) for your free consultation, or simply contact us here today to find an orthodontic plan that takes the fright out of fixing your teeth this spooky season and beyond!

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