Did you know that a leading cause of gum disease is plaque that builds up and hardens into tartar at or beneath the gum line? We know that brushing at least twice a day and flossing regularly goes a long way toward preventing this plaque buildup. If you wear braces, the brackets and wires of the braces make it difficult to clean the entire surface of your teeth. This puts your teeth and gums at higher risk, making gum disease common among braces wearers. However, you don’t have to be part of that statistic. Read on to learn ways you can reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay when wearing braces.
It Takes Extra Care
It is an inconvenient fact that when you have braces, there are foods and drinks you should avoid. Even so, you may not be able to prevent particles from chewed food from becoming lodged in between the wires and brackets of your braces. Fortunately, there is a toothbrush specifically designed for braces wearers called an “interproximal brush” that can reach into those parts of the teeth more effectively. You may also find that an electric toothbrush works better for you than a standard brush.
You can, and should, still floss. Using a waxed floss will help prevent shredding that may occur from the metal of the braces when using unwaxed floss. You can use a floss threader to guide the floss around braces between the teeth. Another option is to use a water flosser or water pick to send a stream of water to rinse away the particles.
Using an antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash can help reverse gingivitis, or the early stage of gum disease. It also helps wash out food particles and works against plaque-forming bacteria.
Serious Gum Disease Can Interfere With Treatment
If you wear braces and notice your gums are red or swollen, or bleed when you brush, you should see us right away. Gum disease caught early can be easily treated. Left untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, a more serious stage of gum disease.
Unfortunately, half of all Americans aged 30 or over already have periodontitis. Put another way, that means there’s a 50-50 chance you have it at this age. Untreated, periodontitis causes bone loss, and the loosening or loss of teeth is possible. That could mean you may have to wait until the periodontitis is under control to get your teeth straightened because putting braces on teeth when there is a lack of bone support can cause even more damage. If you already have braces and periodontitis sets in, you may find that the braces may have to be temporarily removed to allow treatment and healing.
As is often the case, the best medicine is prevention. Be diligent when wearing braces to avoid gum disease and have it treated early if it develops.
See Us for Your Braces Needs
If you are in the Metro Detroit area and you’d like to find out more about gum disease and braces, or you’d like to get started on a new smile right away with braces from us, contact us here at The Best Braces to set up an appointment today.