When you have braces, it’s important to take great care of your teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly help ensure a lasting, healthy smile. Not brushing enough or eating too many starchy and sugary foods can cause plaque and tartar buildup, stain the teeth, create cavities, and can even lead to gingivitis.
At Fry Orthodontic Specialists, we’re committed to educating our patients about oral health and caring for their braces. Here’s what you should know about plaque, tartar, and gingivitis if you have braces:
Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria, food particles, and saliva that builds up naturally on tooth surfaces and along the gum line within 4-12 hours after brushing. Over time, if you neglect brushing, plaque bacteria buildup can cause inflammation to the gums around your teeth which may lead to soreness and potential bleeding around the gum line.
Tartar is calcified plaque that sticks to your teeth above and below the gum line. Tartar is not as easily removed as plaque; it can only be removed by a dentist. The most common sign of tartar is a yellow or brown deposit around the gum line, braces, or orthodontic appliances.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums due to a buildup of plaque. If the plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it produces bacteria that can aggravate your gums. Signs of gingivitis include red, irritated, tender gums that may bleed when you brush.
Plaque, tartar, and gingivitis can be prevented. Here are some tips for caring for your teeth and braces:
- Brush 3 times a day, or after each meal with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Use a floss threader to help floss difficult spaces to remove food and plaque.
- Rinse with fluoride mouthwash to help prevent cavities and wash away any remaining food particles.
- Avoid foods that are sticky, hard, or chewy.
- Eat a healthy meal and drink lots of water.
- Follow your braces treatment plan, see your dentist for check-ups every six months, and schedule visits at our office.
Are You Considering Braces?
At Fry Orthodontics, we care about your dental health and smile. We offer treatment options including braces and Invisalign for children, teenagers, and adults of all ages. Learn more about what our patients have to say about getting their braces at Fry Orthodontics.