How Can I Prevent Tooth and Gum Issues While Wearing Braces?

So you got braces to prevent tooth and gum issues. But what happens when you have those same hygiene issues wearing braces? Maintaining optimal oral hygiene is even more important if you’re wearing braces. At Montana Smiles Orthodontics, Dr. Hecht stresses the importance of preventing tooth and gum issues. Follow his instructions for a healthy path to achieving your dream smile. Our Billings practice does everything we can to support our patients (hint: that’s you!). Understanding how to care for your teeth and gums while wearing braces is key to avoiding complications. 


The Challenges of Oral Hygiene with Braces

Once Dr. Hecht fits you with braces, oral hygiene becomes more intricate. Brackets and wires straighten your teeth. But they also create spaces and gaps between your teeth and gums. These spots can trap food particles and plaque. If brushing daily was important before, it definitely is with braces. Braces can make thorough cleaning more challenging. 

Trapped Food Particles

One of the primary challenges braces wearers face is bits of food getting caught between the braces and teeth. Stuck pieces of food can lead to plaque buildup. What is plaque? A sticky layer of bacteria that’s harmful to tooth enamel and gum health.

Plaque Buildup and Hard-to-Reach Areas

Braces complicate access to the surfaces of teeth and gum lines. Guess what? That’s exactly where plaque likes to develop! Over time, plaque can harden into tartar. The hard part about tartar? The only thing that removes it is a professional dental cleaning. Excess tartar can turn into gum disease and tooth decay. Conditions like these can significantly impact the overall success of your orthodontic treatment.

Increased Risk of Gum Disease

When oral hygiene is compromised, your gums can become more susceptible to inflammation and disease. The irritation caused by plaque buildup around your brackets can lead to swollen, bleeding gums. We call this gingivitis. If left unaddressed, gingivitis can develop into more severe forms of gum disease. 

hygiene wearing braces

Key Strategies for Maintaining Oral Health

Orthodontic treatment with braces requires you to adopt a diligent oral hygiene regimen. Protect your teeth! You’re working hard for a new smile! Don’t let plaque sabotage your progress. Here are some things to remember that will help you prioritize your oral health throughout your orthodontic treatment.

Regular and Effective Brushing

Brush your teeth after each time you eat when you have braces. Food particles can quickly become lodged in the brackets and wires. Dr. Hecht recommends using a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush designed for braces. Additionally, use fluoride toothpaste. It helps protect your teeth from decay. Spending extra time on oral hygiene is well worth the effort for those with braces. 

Flossing with Braces

Floss daily to remove debris and plaque between your teeth. And don’t forget about your gum line! Many Montana Smiles Orthodontics patients miss those spots. Invest in some floss threaders. They can simplify the process by allowing the floss to get under your wires. For an even better clean, consider using a water flosser. It can reach areas where traditional floss might not. Dr. Hecht encourages you to make flossing a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. 

Rinsing with an Antimicrobial Mouthwash

Need additional protection against bacteria and plaque? Look for antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash. What is antimicrobial mouthwash? These rinses can help to dislodge any remaining food particles after brushing and flossing. And they can reach spots that might be hard to clean with only a toothbrush and floss. Dr. Hecht advises patients to choose a mouthwash designed to combat the bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay. It’s an additional tool to safeguard oral health during braces treatment.

Eating Braces-Friendly Foods

Adjusting your diet is necessary to protect your braces and your teeth. Hard, sticky, and overly sugary foods can damage your orthodontic appliances. Plus, sugar can increase your risk of tooth decay. Dr. Hecht recommends embracing a braces-friendly diet that includes soft fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, avoiding foods that could easily harm your braces or get stuck. This helps keep your braces intact and contributes to a smoother and more efficient treatment process.

Regular Dental Check-ups and Cleanings

Keep your regularly scheduled check-ups and cleanings with your dentist. These visits complement your orthodontic care. Your dentist verifies that your teeth remain healthy throughout your treatment. Dr. Hecht says that these appointments are a cornerstone of oral health care. They allow for timely interventions and adjustments to your treatment plan if necessary. Our Montana Smiles Orthodontics team will coordinate closely with your dentist. 


hygiene wearing braces

Hype Up Your Hygiene With Montana Smiles Orthodontics

Good oral hygiene practices are essential to stop common ailments. Stay on top of your hygiene to keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay. After all, you’ve put in work for a dazzling new smile. It needs to remain that way! Dr. Hecht and our Billings team are here to help you every step of the way. Ready to begin your journey to a shinier, more captivating smile? Go here to schedule a free consultation with us at Montana Smiles Orthodontics today and take the first step towards achieving the smile of your dreams.