Braces correct orthodontic problems—and they do a great job—but wearing these may also make it harder to maintain good oral hygiene. Luckily, there are several ways to keep tooth decay and gum disease in check while wearing these appliances to make sure that teeth and gums stay healthy.

Why do Braces Make Teeth and Gums More Vulnerable?

When wearing braces, it’s harder to brush and floss effectively. With the metal wire and brackets partially covering the teeth, it’s more difficult to fully remove all traces of food and plaque, leaving you more susceptible to dental decay and periodontal disease.

Tips for Great Oral Health while Wearing Braces

Foods to avoid

Some foods can become stuck more easily when wearing braces, while others can cause them to become loose or break. Foods that should be avoided or eaten carefully when undergoing orthodontic treatment include:

  • Chewy candies that get stuck in teeth easily, such as gummy candy, licorice, caramel, and taffy.
  • Jerky, nuts, popcorn, hard pretzels, croutons, pizza crust, and ice.
  • Ribs and chicken wings can be eaten if you remove the meat from the bones before eating.

Some hard or chewy foods can be eaten if they are divided into small pieces and chewed carefully, using the back molars only. These include bagels, raw veggies, hard or pitted fruits, and granola bars.

Brushing and flossing

Hygiene is more important than ever when wearing braces, as it’s likely for food to become trapped in the wire and bracket structures. One way to make it easier is to use a toothbrush designed for use with braces, such as an interdental toothbrush. If flossing is difficult, using a floss threader may be beneficial.

Other tips

  • If you play a contact sport, wear a mouthguard. This can be designed to fit over your braces—see your dentist or orthodontist for more information.
  • If any part of your braces breaks or loosens, see your dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible.

Finally, if your child is wearing braces, make it easier for them to stay on top of their oral health by scheduling regular appointments with their dentist. Orthodontic adjustments plus regular professional cleaning will help keep oral health problems at bay.

Contact ABA Dental Clinic Today

Having straight teeth helps your smile look great, but it’s also important for good oral health. To discuss braces and other orthodontic treatments, call our Thunder Bay practice today to schedule a consultation.