A predominate problem with orthodontic treatment (braces) is the increased risk of cavities. Decay first shows in the form of a white spot that can then turn into a hole or a dark spot. These are most often found around the brackets and in between the teeth. These white spots don’t go away and can be a real esthetic problem after the braces are off!
How do you prevent decay while in braces?
1. Brushing well around braces and wires. Plaque builds up more easily and is harder to remove around brackets. Point your toothbrush towards your gums first to get one side of the bracket and then flip it to reach the other side of the bracket as such:
2. Flossing, waterpik, proxybrushes etc. Get between those teeth! Brushing only reaches 60% of your tooth surfaces.
3. Fluoride. Using toothpaste with high fluoride content and having in office fluoride varnish treatments strengthens your teeth and makes them more resistant to decay. Fluoride can make the difference between white spots and full blown decay.
4. Avoiding sugar and non complex carbohydrates. Sweets, white breads, crackers and white pastas are easily broken down by the bacteria in your mouth to create decay quickly. Braces tend to catch food so these decay causing foods will stick around longer and do more damage.
5. Avoiding acid. It’s not just about the sugar. Many sugar free drinks are just as acidic as drinks containing sugar! If ascorbic acid (or any acid) is high in the list of ingredients it is more likely to cause your problems. Common drinks high in acid include diet soda, crystal light, sports drinks (with or without sugar), vitamin water, and energy drinks. It’s important to even be careful with lemons, limes, oranges, and any drinks made from them due to their high acid content.