Braces work to straighten your teeth, but they do nothing to keep your teeth clean. Keeping your teeth clean is your job, and if you do it right, you’ll have lovely, straight, clean, and white teeth when the braces come off. If you fail to keep your teeth clean, bad things can happen.

Plaque Buildup Happens

A quick and ineffective swipe of your toothbrush will remove some of the plaque from the edges of your teeth, but that’s about it. Unfortunately, much of the plaque buildup you experience happens up near the gum line, which is a place that is easy to miss when you brush too quickly. Taking some time to brush carefully and thoroughly will prevent plaque from building up.

Plaque is a soft and sticky substance that creates a film over teeth. If you don’t brush it away every day, it will build up in layers. Over time, the plaque hardens and becomes difficult to remove except with dental tools. Because it is full of bacteria that love to eat the enamel of your teeth, all kinds of decay is happening under those layers of plaque. Plaque buildup can cause gum disease and tooth decay, both of which are painful and can cause infections, tooth discoloration, and cavities.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Acidic foods contain acid, which breaks down your tooth enamel over time. While you have your braces, choose more low-acidic foods to eat and try to avoid eating a lot of foods that are high in acid.

Foods with lots of sugar are highly acidic. Soda, sports drinks, fruit juices, and other sweetened drinks can be hard on your teeth when you have braces. Candy, sweet baked goods, and condiments that include sugar and/or vinegar are also highly acidic. Avoiding highly acidic foods will not only protect your teeth from decay but will keep your body healthier in general.

The Right Way to Brush

Cleaning your teeth really thoroughly when you have braces will help prevent plaque buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay. Spend about 10 seconds brushing each tooth before moving on, and make sure you get up at the gum line, the front of the tooth, and the back of the tooth.

Your orthodontist can give you more tips to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Arizona-based Dunn Orthodontics serves children, teens, and adults to correct bad bites and get a smile you’ll love to show. Visit our Homepage to make an appointment.

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