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Traditional Braces How to Care for Your Teeth When Under the Wire

July 26, 2023
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Caring for your teeth, particularly when undergoing orthodontic treatment, such as wearing traditional metal braces, is vital to ensure optimal oral health. Dentistry in Waterloo underscores the importance of dental exams, cleanings, and fillings during orthodontic treatments to safeguard dental health. This article presents ten compelling reasons why maintaining oral hygiene while wearing braces is essential, along with seven best practices to follow.


Firstly, we need to understand why good oral hygiene is crucial while wearing braces. There are ten salient reasons:

  1. Prevention of Tooth Decay: Lack of proper dental hygiene can cause plaque build-up around the braces, leading to tooth decay.
  2. Avoiding Gum Disease: When oral hygiene is neglected, it can cause gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease.
  3. Preventing Stains: Regular cleanings can help prevent white or yellow stains from forming around braces.
  4. Preventing Bad Breath: Poor oral hygiene can result in bad breath, a cause for embarrassment and discomfort.
  5. Preventing Bone Loss: Advanced gum disease can lead to bone loss, which is preventable with appropriate oral hygiene.
  6. Preserving Dental Work: Regular visits for cleanings and fillings ensure that the hard work put into orthodontic treatment isn’t undone.
  7. Oral Comfort: Proper oral hygiene can prevent discomfort and infections.
  8. Ensuring Effective Treatment: Good oral health ensures braces can do their job more effectively and efficiently.
  9. Cost-Effectiveness: Regular cleanings are less expensive than treating decay or gum disease.
  10. Aesthetic Appeal: Clean, healthy teeth contribute to an attractive smile post-treatment.


If oral hygiene is disregarded, it can lead to problems like cavities, gum disease, tooth discoloration, bad breath, and even tooth loss, affecting your dental health, overall well-being, and quality of life.


You can be confident that various dental treatments are accessible for individuals undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces and experiencing oral health issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, dental stains, or bad breath. It is crucial not to overlook these problems, as they can result in significant oral health complications if not addressed promptly. Let’s explore some of the treatments in more detail:

  1. Tooth Decay (Dental Caries): Inadequate oral hygiene is the primary cause of tooth decay, leading to the formation of cavities. In the early stages, it might be treated with fluoride treatment which helps to restore the tooth’s enamel. A filling may be required to repair the cavity in more severe cases. If the decay has reached the tooth’s pulp, root canal therapy will be recommended to remove infected material, followed by a dental crown to restore the tooth’s function and appearance. Braces patients may also be prescribed fluoride toothpaste to help fight cavities.
  2. Gum Disease (Gingivitis and Periodontitis): Regular dental cleanings at your dentist’s office and consistent brushing and flossing routines at home can effectively reverse the initial stage of gum disease. For more advanced gum disease (periodontitis), gum disease treatment, deep cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing are performed to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line. In severe cases, surgical interventions like flap surgery or bone and tissue grafts may be required. Dentists might recommend using special appliances, such as water flossers, for those with braces to ensure effective cleaning around the brackets and wires.
  3. Dental Stains: Dental stains can be treated using professional teeth whitening procedures, which use strong bleaching agents for effective results. These are typically performed at your dentist’s office, but at-home options provided by your dentist are also available. For intrinsic stains (those that are inside the tooth), a procedure like veneers or dental crowns may be recommended. It’s crucial to note that braces can sometimes lead to white spots or stains on the teeth, so while under orthodontic treatment, the focus should be on prevention through excellent oral hygiene and regular check-ups.
  4. Bad Breath (Halitosis): Chronic bad breath can often indicate gum disease or dry mouth. Treatment includes professional cleaning to remove the build-up of plaque and tartar, treating any gum disease present, or possibly changing medications if they are the cause of dry mouth. The dentist can also recommend special mouthwashes or suggest ways to stimulate saliva production.


Remember, if you’re experiencing any of these oral health issues while wearing braces, it’s essential to consult with both your dentist and orthodontist. They will be able to recommend the best course of action and can work together to ensure your oral health is being managed effectively during your orthodontic treatment. Regular dental exams, cleanings and fillings, and good at-home care practices are fundamental to maintaining oral health during orthodontic treatment.


How to maintain oral health with braces

Given the critical role of oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment, here are seven best practices to maintain:

  1. Regular Brushing: Brush your teeth after every meal to prevent the accumulation of plaque. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste.
  2. Flossing: Floss daily to clean between teeth and along the gum line where the toothbrush can’t reach. Special orthodontic flossers can make the process easier.
  3. Use of Fluoride Mouthwash: Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash daily to strengthen enamel and prevent cavities.
  4. Avoid Hard, Sticky Foods: Avoid foods that can damage braces, like nuts, popcorn, sticky sweets, and hard candies.
  5. Regular Dental Check-ups: Visit a dentist regularly for check-ups, cleanings, and fillings to ensure optimal oral health.
  6. Orthodontic Appointments: Regularly attend all orthodontic appointments to ensure the braces function as they should and allow the orthodontist and dentist to monitor oral health.
  7. Use of Dental Wax: Dental wax can be used to cover any sharp parts of the braces that are causing discomfort to the gums or cheeks.


In conclusion, maintaining oral hygiene while wearing traditional braces is crucial. If you’re experiencing orthodontic treatment, turn to dentistry in Waterloo for your dental exams, oral health treatments, cleanings, and fillings. These professionals can guide you through your journey, providing personalized care to ensure your smile is the healthiest and most beautiful it can be. Remember, braces are not just about enhancing aesthetics but also about improving oral health and overall quality of life.


Ready when you are

Lamine Diallo
Lamine Diallo
02:21 15 Jun 22
My family and I have been receiving care from Dr. Ashraf and his amazing team since we first moved to Waterloo in 2002. His assessment skills are spot on, he is gentle and is very skilled at working with anxious\nervous patients. My dental hygienist is Lin who is very knowledgeable, and passionate about her work. She is amazingly gentle yet very,very thorough when it comes to preventative dental care. She is didactic as well, taking the time to teach patients how to use certain equipment as well as addressing gingivitis in pro-active ways. We are in very capable hands.
Trisa Kapetaneas
Trisa Kapetaneas
18:12 01 Jun 22
I have been a patient here for over 2 years now and I've always enjoyed the experience. The staff are professional and have always made me feel comfortable. I recently had a cleaning done by Lynn for the first time and she was amazing! Will continue to visit for my checkups/cleanings.
Aamir Mirza
Aamir Mirza
14:54 03 May 22
Dr. Ashraf and his team is amazing. All work done under one umbrella for entire family. We all are very happy to be under the care for the last 20 plus years. Lin, dental hygienist is remarkable professional. She knows her job so well that I look forward to my cleaning every time I'm scheduled. Thank you Lin for your amazing work for my entire family!
Alena Delena
Alena Delena
14:50 02 May 22
My family loves Dr Ashraf. We've been through many dentists in many cities and he's by far our favourite one. He's always thorough and professional. His referrals are also of equal high caliber. I went to him for a root canal and a crown. I had many concerns and he addressed them all personally. He even went so far as to redo a root canal for me. Recommend.
Nicole Wood
Nicole Wood
15:31 28 Apr 22
I found Ashraf Dentistry a year ago and I absolutely love their dental clinic. Everyone is very kind and thorough. Lin is the best dental hygienist I've ever had! She takes the time to ensure I receive the care I need. Both dentists I've seen have also been very kind and wonderful at making me feel like my teeth are being taken care of. Highly recommend!
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