Caring for Braces: How to Prevent Tooth & Gum Issues

Orthodontic treatment is an exciting milestone for kids, teens, and adults alike – but it can also come with preventable risks. Understanding how braces could impact your oral health will help you steer clear of any issues in the long run. So, from our Koerich Orthodontics team to your family, here’s your guide to Caring for Braces: How to Prevent Tooth & Gum Issues. 

Prevent These Oral Health Risks with Braces

There’s no doubt about it: the biggest impact braces will have on you is the lasting happiness of a confident smile. Like any other medical procedure, getting braces or clear aligners comes with a few risks to be aware of, but as long as you’re following the proper steps for caring for your braces, your treatment should be smooth sailing. 

Here’s what following Dr. Leo and Dr. Lindsey’s instructions will help you prevent: 

  • Cavities: With all that extra surface area in your mouth, there’s more space for plaque – a sticky film of bacteria – to build up, making you more likely to develop cavities. Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent this issue so long as you maintain a good oral hygiene routine. 
  • White Spot Lesions: Without consistently caring for braces, they can cause other problems like demineralization, which is a breakdown of the tooth’s enamel that causes visible white spots on the teeth. However, by following the steps below, you can prevent demineralization. 
  • Soft Tissue Injury: Braces can sometimes cause irritation to your inner cheeks, lips, and tongue, especially when you first get your appliances or after an adjustment appointment. Fortunately, these issues are usually minor, and you can prevent them by taking the proper precautions below. 

Remember: oral health problems, especially those caused by poor brushing habits, can sometimes cause your treatment to last longer than it normally would. It’s very important to follow all of these steps to keep your treatment on the right track so you can get the beautiful smile you deserve. 

#1: Maintain a Good Oral Hygiene Routine

First thing first: keeping your teeth clean and healthy is your #1 priority as an orthodontic patient. Caring for your braces starts with proper brushing and flossing. Here are a few tips: 

  • Floss first: using a floss threader or water flosser, gently clean between each tooth to loosen up any leftover food particles and pave the path for brushing. 
  • Rinse your mouth: rinsing before you brush can do the same thing as flossing: dislodge any food particles that may be stuck between your teeth. 
  • Use a 45-degree angle: brushing at an angle helps you get all sides of your teeth and brackets, ensuring that there are no spaces left unclean during the process. 

By following these tips, you can keep your teeth clean and plaque-free while preventing oral health issues like gum disease, cavities, or white spots. 

#2: Visit Your Orthodontist Regularly

Attending all your routine orthodontic appointments will help you and Dr. Lindsey stay on the same page throughout treatment. If he notices any oral health issues, he can point them out to you during these visits and adapt your treatment plan if needed to prevent further problems. Dr. Lindsey can also answer all your oral health questions so you can get the most out of each appointment. 

Caring for Braces: How to Prevent Tooth & Gum Issues

#3: Eat Braces-Friendly Foods

One of the most important things you can do when caring for your braces is to avoid the foods and beverages that might harm your appliance and turn to braces-friendly foods and drinks instead. Sugary foods or drinks like candy or soda can leave traces of sugar on or between your teeth – and because sugar attracts acid-producing bacteria, these items put you at a higher risk for developing cavities. 

Additionally, eating hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy foods (like hard candies or soft pretzels) can harm or even break your brackets, which could cause soft tissue injuries. Instead, stick to healthier, softer options like pasta or soup to eat and water to drink. 

#4: Call to Report Damage

Accidents happen! If you’ve broken a bracket or wire, call our office to schedule a repair appointment, and we’ll be happy to help. If the condition harms the soft tissues in your mouth, we recommend using orthodontic wax to cover the bracket or wire until we can fix the issue. 

Orthodontic emergencies are rare, but if you experience significant damage to your teeth and appliance, it’s important that you call our office.

#5: Keep Seeing Your Dentist

It’s a common misconception that you don’t have to see your dentist while you’re going through orthodontic treatment. Even though orthodontists are tooth professionals, we’re there to straighten your smile while your dentist is there to help you keep your teeth clean and healthy. You should continue seeing your dentist throughout treatment to ensure you’re getting the proper oral hygiene checkups, cleanings, and flouride treatments you need to keep your teeth in tip-top shape. 

Caring for Braces: How to Prevent Tooth & Gum Issues

Come Smile with Koerich Orthodontics

Caring for your braces is the best way to make your smile shine. Although there are some risks associated with orthodontic treatment, keeping your teeth clean and healthy is the best way to prevent them without worry. The other best way to prevent these issues is by working with the Koerich Orthodontics team! If you have any questions or concerns, we’re always here to help. Call our offices in Charlotte or Indian Trail to learn more!