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Can Braces Cause Tooth Decay?

December 7, 2022

When you have braces, you’re at a much higher risk of developing tooth decay. After all, the brackets, bands, and wires make it much more difficult to practice proper oral hygiene habits. However, the team at Innovative Dental and Orthodontics wants you to know that it is possible to prevent tooth decay even when you have braces. In this article, we’ll explain some of the signs of tooth decay, as well as the treatment of tooth decay while wearing braces. Finally, we’ll offer you 5 tips to prevent tooth decay when you have braces.

Signs of Tooth Decay

The severity of tooth decay determines the signs and symptoms you have. According to the experts, many patients in the early stages of tooth decay don’t have any obvious symptoms- but as it progresses, you may experience the following:
  • Sensitivity to hot/cold or sugary foods
  • Constant pain
  • Cavities in teeth
  • White/dark spots on teeth
  • Loose fillings
  • Difficulty biting certain foods
  • Bad breath
  • Abscesses that cause fever, swelling, or pain

Can Tooth Decay be Treated While Wearing Braces?

Yes, tooth decay can be treated while wearing braces. In fact, treatment of cavities with and without braces is basically the same. We prefer to diagnose and treat cavities as early as possible to prevent them from getting worse. The size and location of the decay will determine if your braces are affected. In some cases, the cavity can be filled without disturbing your braces. However, we may need to make adjustments or remove your archwire or brackets to fill a cavity under the braces. If your braces must be removed, we will do that at one appointment and then put them back on after the cavity is filled. We try to schedule these appointments as closely as possible to keep you on as close to your treatment timeline as we can. In some cases, such as when you’re nearing the end of your treatment, we may leave the cavities alone and fill them after your braces are removed.

5 Tips to Prevent Tooth Decay with Braces

There are a few things you can do to prevent tooth decay while wearing braces:

Don’t miss orthodontic appointments

When you have braces, you’ll need to visit the orthodontist every 4-6 weeks based on your treatment plan. These visits are primarily to replace wires and make adjustments, but we will also assess your oral health. Some patients do develop cavities and gum issues while wearing braces, especially if they do not practice proper oral hygiene. By keeping these appointments, we can quickly treat any decay before it escalates.

Practice proper oral hygiene

This includes brushing and flossing. Make sure that you are using the right toothbrush when you brush your teeth. There are toothbrushes on the market that are specifically designed for people with braces. They usually have softer bristles and are angled to help you reach those harder-to-reach areas. Flossing, though tricky, is very important- especially when you have braces. You don’t have to floss every time you eat- once daily should be sufficient. However, it may be better if you floss every time you eat. There are flossers on the market that make the process easier: water flossers, orthodontic flossers, and interdental toothbrushes.

Use a fluoride mouthwash

After you brush, many experts recommend that you use fluoride mouthwash because the mouthwash does remove the fluoride from brushing. Ideally, you should wait about 30 minutes after brushing to use the mouthwash.

Avoid restricted foods

When you have braces, there are certain foods that you must avoid. This is because they may damage your braces or get stuck in places where you can’t get them out, leading to bacteria and plaque buildup. This can ultimately cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Drink plenty of water

Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water. This will help flush out any bacteria and food debris left behind. If you’re not able to brush after eating, swish some water around your mouth to loosen food debris. This is better than letting it sit on your teeth all day.

Visit Innovative Dental and Orthodontics Today

If you think you may need braces or you have braces and are concerned about tooth decay, contact the team at Innovative Dental and Orthodontics today. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for an evaluation. We are located on County Road 419 in Oviedo, Florida. Our office hours vary:
  • Monday: 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM
  • Tuesday and Thursday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM
We look forward to meeting you and working with you to resolve all of your dental and orthodontic needs.
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