Tooth decay and cavities can happen to anyone, but if you wear braces, it’s especially important to be mindful of these dental issues. With braces, food can get caught where your toothbrush can’t reach and means some extra diligence to be thorough with your cleaning. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis and gum disease.
So just how does a cavity form? Read on for tips to keep your teeth clean and cavity-free while wearing braces.
Bacteria cause cavities. A cavity is a hole in your tooth that is eroded into the surface by the by products of bacteria in your mouth. While some bacteria in your mouth is natural and healthy, other bacteria is destructive and produces an acid that melts away the enamel of your teeth.
All food contains sugars(carbohydrates) whether you’re eating broccoli or potato chips. The bacteria in your mouth but carbohydrates contain the most sugars, particularly sweet foods.
Any sugars you eat can stick to your teeth, which causes the bacteria in your mouth to react and form acid. Although your mouth naturally cleanses your mouth by way of saliva, it can’t wash away sticky sugars that are left behind after brushing.
When you brush your teeth twice a day, you’re aiming to wipe away these sugars. Consistently leaving behind even the thinnest film on your teeth – or biofilm – can cause damage to your enamel (decalcification). If tooth decay does break through the enamel, it’s likely a cavity will form. Learn more about how tooth decay develops here.
Cavities form in areas that are tough to clean or are neglected when cleaned. It’s especially important for braces wearers to be mindful of how well they’re brushing their teeth. Frequently missing the same spot around your brackets or under wires can help cavities to form on chewing surfaces, between your teeth or along the gum line.
Eating habits and dental hygiene play an important role in warding off cavities. Fortunately, tooth decay happens over time, which means you can get a leg up on preventing it by adopting some better habits now.
What are your tips for maintaining a healthy and cavity-free mouth? Share your braces-friendly advice with us in the comments.