Our Harrisonville MO orthodontist explains that tooth decay is certainly not exclusive to those with braces, but orthodontic appliances can heighten your risk. Tooth decay occurs because of food and bacteria not adequately being removed from the mouth. Plaque, a clear, sticky substance that feeds off sugars from foods, thrives when it is not properly brushed away. Plaque can especially build up behind the brackets and wires of braces and create acids that wear away at your enamel.
When your braces are removed, you might find that your smile is straight but possibly stained or damaged if prevention of tooth decay was neglected. Our top-rated Harrisonville orthodontist recommends the following tips for preventing tooth decay and ensuring a clean smile after your orthodontic treatment!
Sticky, sweet foods are not allies to your optimal oral hygiene when wearing braces. Sticky foods loaded with sugar are going to linger longer behind and between crevices provided by braces. Sugars in the mouth feed plaque and allow it to grow. Cleaning braces properly can be challenging, so our orthodontist in Harrisonville suggests avoiding sticky treats to make the task easier.
Even if a beverage can’t get “stuck” in your braces, the high sugar and/or acid content of a drink can leave a residue in your mouth for plaque to thrive on. Sodas, fruit juices, energy drinks, sugary coffee drinks, and sports drinks are examples of beverages our orthodontist in Harrisonville MO suggests you avoid. If you do drink these, consider using a straw to minimize contact with the teeth, and rinse your mouth with water after. Especially avoid drinking these after brushing your teeth before bed at night. Prolonged exposure to sugar overnight can have negative effects on your oral hygiene with or without braces.
Inevitably, you may forget to pack a toothbrush or be away from a sink between meals, but do your best to keep up with brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash. The less amount of time food is granted to sit in your mouth, the less bacterial buildup there will be. White spots are often present on teeth after braces are removed because acids from bacteria had the opportunity to destroy and discolor the enamel. Don’t give bacteria the chance! Brush often, and consult our 5-star Harrisonville orthodontist if you are concerned about proper cleaning techniques.
The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to orthodontics, feel free to contact Burleson Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry, with a convenient orthodontic office location near Harrisonville MO, by clicking here or by calling 816.759.0123.