If you are considering getting braces, or if you just started braces treatment, you may be wondering “can I get cavities with braces?” The answer is yes, you most certainly can. In fact, wearing braces increases the chances of getting a cavity, so it is extremely important to practice proper dental hygiene while wearing braces.
Why do braces cause cavities?
Braces don’t actually cause cavities but when patients wear braces, it’s much easier for food particles to become stuck around the metal brackets and wire. Food that is not properly removed, turns into plaque build-up which then causes tooth decay. Essentially, these food particles eat away the exterior layers of your tooth and can cause tiny holes, known as cavities.
If not treated, cavities will grow bigger over time and can lead to severe toothaches, infections, and can even cause tooth loss.
How to prevent cavities while wearing braces?
In addition to these complications, cavities can also delay the length of your orthodontic treatment. You don’t want to wear braces longer than you should, so that’s why is important to take charge of your oral health especially while wearing braces. Here are a few ways to prevent cavities while wearing braces, as well as preventing cavities after braces:
- Brush after every meal – We advise all of our patients to brush after every meal. Make sure to brush for at least two minutes, reaching all areas of your mouth.
- Floss every day – We understand that flossing may not be the easiest thing to do while wearing braces, but it’s super important! This is the most effective way to prevent plaque build-up. We recommend using a floss threader to help you pass the floss between your braces and teeth. We also recommend using a water flosser, also known as a waterpik, to help loosen the plaque in hard-to-reach areas. We do caution our patients that a water flosser should never replace traditional flossing.
- Schedule periodic dental cleanings – We recommend visiting your dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning. During the cleaning, your dentist will remove plaque build-up which will also prevent cavities.
- Avoid sugary foods – Along with proper dental hygiene, a proper braces diet can prevent cavities. Foods that are high in sugar can lead to tooth decay cavities. So we advise all our patients to avoid foods that are high in sugar, including soda, fruit juice, sweets and chocolates, among others.
What happens if you get a cavity while wearing braces?
Even with a patient diligently following all preventive measures, it’s still possible to get cavities while wearing braces. Many patients ask, “can you get a filling with braces?” And the answer is yes!
Your dentist is usually able to treat the cavity without requiring your orthodontist to intervene. However, if the dentist cannot reach the cavity because of your braces, then your orthodontist will need to temporarily remove the wire and appliances surrounding the affected area. After the cavity has been treated, your orthodontist will then have to replace the appliances.
Getting cavities while wearing braces will obviously cause delays in your treatment. So, if you’re susceptible to getting cavities, let your orthodontist know. You may want to consider getting clear aligners such as Spark™ or Invisalign® instead of traditional braces, as they can easily be removed. This will allow your dentist easy access and can minimize any “down time” in your treatment caused by cavities. It is also easier to brush and floss with clear aligners, because they come off when it’s time to brush.
Ready for that picture perfect smile?
If you’re worried about cavities with braces don’t be. The risk is minimal compared to the benefits of having a beautiful and healthy smile. We’re here to answer any questions you may have.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our friendly and experienced orthodontists at Nease & Higginbotham Orthodontics in upstate South Carolina. We are conveniently located in Spartanburg, Duncan, Gaffney, and Union. Click here to request a complimentary orthodontic exam.