Many patients are hesitant to get traditional braces or even refuse to consider them because they worry that braces cause cavities. However, this isn’t necessarily true. It is food, lodged between your teeth, that causes tooth decay and an increase in cavities. Everyone…young and old, with braces or without…has a risk of cavities.

Braces alone will never cause cavities; however, they do make plaque and tooth decay more likely. That’s why you may hear more stories about people with braces getting cavities than people without braces. It is very easy for food particles to get stuck in the space between your wires and teeth. And once that food sits there, plaque can start developing within as little as five minutes! But there are steps you can take while wearing braces to prevent cavities and keep your smile shining bright.

Your Oral Hygiene Routine With Braces

Your oral hygiene habits when you have braces are very important. Skipping even one day of brushing or flossing can put you at risk of plaque or demineralization, which causes white spots after braces. The easiest thing you can do is stay up-to-date on your visits to the dentist and orthodontist. Regular check-ups will help catch problems early. You may even want to consider extra visits to your dentist.

How to Brush with Braces

You shouldn’t only be brushing in the morning and before you go to bed, but after every single meal to get rid of bacteria before it has the chance to cause damage. You don’t need a special toothbrush. A soft-bristled, standard toothbrush will work just fine. Brush top-to-bottom and then bottom-to-top on all sides of your teeth to make sure you can clean away any bacteria and dislodge any food that may be stuck.

How to Floss with Braces

No one loves flossing, but it is key to a healthy, beautiful smile! Flossing with braces is a little tricky and will require a few special cleaning tools.

A dental floss threader helps thread dental floss beneath your wires so you can floss more easily. You need to get under the wire and between each tooth, so it takes a little extra time, but is the most important step in preventing tooth decay!

Meanwhile, a water flosser, although a little more expensive, can also help dislodge food that’s left behind using a stream of water. We also recommend a proxabrush. This tiny little tool has a bristle that you can slide underneath your wires to help clean away bits of food in those hard-to-reach places.

What If I Get a Cavity with Braces?

Despite your best efforts, sometimes cavities happen, especially if you have soft teeth or tooth sensitivity. If your dentist discovers a small cavity, they should be able to fill it without interfering with your braces. It’s always good to address cavities with braces early. Leaving fillings until after your braces come off can lead to more serious health issues.

If you have a large cavity or one that is around your brackets or wires, a wire may have to be removed so that your dentist can fill the cavity. Then the wire will be replaced. While inconvenient, this shouldn’t prolong your braces treatment too much.

Remember, stay away from sticky foods like caramels or sugary foods and drinks. Sugar can be extremely damaging to your smile when you have braces.

Our Commitment to a Healthier Smile

At Exeter Smiles, we’re committed to your comfort and care. That means helping you straighten your smile and keep it healthy for years to come. We help our patients avoid cavities and keep their smiles bright by showing them how to improve and maintain their oral health habits. We understand that braces mean a lot of changes, changes we’ll be glad to walk you through.

To learn more, we encourage you to visit our office for your consultation. You’ll meet our orthodontists, get x-rays taken, and learn how you can keep your teeth clean even with traditional metal braces.

We’re located in Allentown and Reading. Contact us today!