Achieving a straight smile is one of the best feelings in the world. There’s nothing quite like the day you complete your orthodontic treatment and see the amazing transformation that took place in your mouth. As gorgeous as the results might be, if you’re not careful during your orthodontic treatment, you might end up with tooth decay during or after your treatment. Then, your beautiful new smile will require some work to get it back to full health. If you’re starting an orthodontic treatment soon or already in the middle of one, these tips will help you prevent tooth decay with braces.

Choose Your Treatment Wisely

young red haired woman rests her hand behind her neck and shows off her smile with bracesOne of the first ways you can avoid tooth decay with braces is by choosing your orthodontic treatment wisely. If you know that you’re going to feel too lazy to use special floss and brush diligently between brackets and wires to clean your teeth well enough with braces, opt for a removable option like Invisalign. We offer several different orthodontic options in Irvine, CA to choose from. Some make it much easier to clean your teeth than others. Choosing the best treatment for your hygienic needs will help you avoid tooth decay.

Brush After Every Meal

One of the easiest ways you can avoid developing tooth decay during your orthodontic treatment is by brushing your teeth after every meal. This means every time you have a snack, or eat anything, you need to brush your teeth. Brushing your teeth after every meal can help remove the bacteria and plaque from your mouth that lead to tooth decay. The less time food rests on your teeth, the less time it has to form plaque and tartar. Make sure to brush between your brackets and wires to leave no trace of food anywhere in your mouth. For the best results, we recommend using an electric toothbrush.

Floss Daily

We know how much of a hassle it is to floss while you have braces. Maneuvering the floss between the wires is incredibly difficult but it must be done. To help you floss, we recommend purchasing the floss threaders that have the pointy edge built-in. This makes it easy to get between the wires faster. If you still find this to be too much of a hassle, you can use a water pic to clean between your teeth. Although it’s not as effective as flossing, it’s still better than not flossing at all. Flossing daily can help remove food, plaque, and bacteria from between your teeth that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Use a Fluoride Mouth Rinse

Even with brushing and flossing, there’s still the chance that you leave some food particles on your teeth at the end of the day. After you floss and brush your teeth, rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouth rinse to help get rid of the bacteria and food particles. The fluoride will also give you extra cavity protection during your treatment.

Use Special Cleaning Tools

Interdental toothbrushes are your new best friend during your orthodontic treatment. These small brushes come in handy when you have food stuck in a bracket or wire and your toothbrush just can’t seem to get it off. Interdental brushes, floss threaders, WaterPiks, and electric toothbrushes can make cleaning your teeth significantly easier with braces. Don’t avoid special cleaning tools if you want to keep your teeth as healthy as possible during your treatment.

Don’t Skip a Dental Cleaning

Every six months you should visit our dental office for your bi-annual cleaning regardless if you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment or not. During these appointments, we look for early signs of gum disease and tooth decay. If we happen to find any tooth decay, we will address it as soon as possible to prevent it from getting worse.

Additionally, we clean your teeth during these appointments which remove plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth and from below the gum line. When you skip your dental cleaning, you miss out on these crucial steps towards preventing tooth decay.

Eat and Drink Responsibly

During your orthodontic treatment, we will provide you with a list of foods you shouldn’t eat because they can break your brackets or wires. A lot of the foods on this list will also help you prevent tooth decay. Anything sticky can not only stick to your braces but also your teeth. This is hard to remove and can result in tooth decay.

In addition to those foods, we also strongly encourage you to eat responsibly to protect your teeth from tooth decay. This means limiting your sugar and carb intake because sugar is what fuels the bacteria that leads to tooth decay. You should also avoid drinking anything with sugar because the sugar can coat all areas of your teeth, especially the hard to reach surfaces covered by your brackets. For best results, drink water as often as possible. If you do eat or drink something starchy or sugary, just remember to brush your teeth afterward.

With these tips, you can hopefully avoid tooth decay during your braces treatment. If you would like to learn more about our orthodontic options or care tips, please schedule a consultation with one of our dentists at Rice Dentistry in Irvine, CA today by calling (949) 551-5902.