Do Braces Increase the Risk of Cavities?
To say wearing braces is inconvenient is an understatement, but the results are definitely worth it in the end. Having a restricted diet as well as having to employ a more rigorous dental hygiene routine at home have most patients counting the days until they come of. So what’s the big deal about brushing and flossing anyway? Is it really necessary? Braces may not cause cavities on their own, but wearing them will definitely increase your risk for tooth decay if you don’t follow our instructions at home.
Cavities are caused when bacteria-laden plaque is allowed to build up on your teeth and harden into a substance known as tartar or calculus. Tartar can only be removed through a professional dental cleaning and the longer it sits on your teeth, the greater the chance of your tooth enamel being destroyed by decay. So what does this have to do with braces? A lot actually. The brackets and wires bonded to your teeth actually provide plenty of hiding places for plaque to collect that cannot be reached through normal brushing and flossing.
In order to help your teeth stay cavity free while you are wearing braces, following these important tips:
- Carry a travel oral hygiene kit with you so that you can brush and floss after every meal.
- Thoroughly rinse your mouth with water after eating if you do not have access to a toothbrush and floss.
- Use floss threaders to pull floss through hard-to-reach areas.
- Consider purchasing a water flosser to help remove plague and debris from between your braces and teeth.
- Use interdental brushes for additional plaque removal between brackets and wires
- Rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash following brushing and flossing.
Wearing braces is a temporary inconvenience that can lead to a beautiful, healthy smile that you will have with you for the rest of your life. By keeping your teeth clean, you will not only prevent cavities but also protect your teeth from stains caused by etching. In addition to your regular visits to Angelakis Orthodontics, you should still see your general dentist every six months for exams and professional cleanings.