dental braces model

Since we were young, we’ve heard about how important it is to maintain a healthy smile so that we don’t develop cavities and other problems with our teeth. It’s been said time and time again that proper oral hygiene is imperative to overall health and when you have braces, it is especially important. But why? One of the most common problems is gum disease, and there are about three million documented cases in the U.S. every year.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, or Periodontis, is an infection that damages the gums and can potentially destroy the jaw bone if left untreated. It is caused by a build-up of bacterial plaque that develops over the teeth and causes problems like swollen or tender gums and even tooth loss. If not addressed, gum disease can cause even more serious health problems, such as heart or lung disease, which is why prevention is important.

When you have braces, you need to take extra care of your teeth as there are more places for bacteria to hide and thrive. Here are some of the best ways to avoid gum disease with braces.

Proper Oral Hygiene

First up, as you’ve probably guessed, is proper oral hygiene. Adopting the right oral hygiene habits is important when you don’t have braces, but is even more so when you do. Being sure to brush and floss regularly (and correctly) can help prevent food from staying stuck in between your teeth and braces, as this causes harmful bacteria to build up. Implement the following practices for maximum results:

  • Brush at least twice a day and after meals if you can.
  • Floss daily
  • Establish proper brushing and flossing techniques.
  • Use a quality mouthwash to help kill bacteria.
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly to ensure effectiveness

If you stay diligent in your oral hygiene efforts, you have a much better chance of avoiding gum disease and other health issues.

Avoiding Problem Foods

Another way to put more distance between yourself and gum disease is by avoiding certain problem foods. Sugar is one of the main culprits when it comes to bacteria forming in the mouth. That’s why you should stick to a diet full of healthy, nutritious foods, avoiding excess sugar whenever possible. This will help limit your risk of developing cavities and other problems within the mouth. Your orthodontist will be happy to discuss the proper foods to enjoy and what foods to avoid when you have braces, so you can be sure you’re getting the best results possible. Let’s be honest, we all indulge every now and then with a sugary treat, so be sure you brush directly after eating to remove that sugar and keep it from building up.

Preventing Gum Disease

Gum disease isn’t fun for anyone, and if you have braces, you need to be especially careful. With more places to hide in the mouth, bacteria has the potential to thrive between your teeth and underneath your wires, so taking as many preventative measures as you can improves your chances of keeping your teeth and gums healthy for life. Remember these tips, whether you have braces or not, to reduce the chance of gum disease and other nasty illnesses from developing. Just a couple of simple practices can help you avoid gum disease completely, so be sure to embrace them and practice them diligently!

The team at Charleston Orthodontic Specialists is ready to help you get the spectacular smile you’ve always wanted! Call (843) 4-BRACES to learn more.