Braces and Cavities

Make this exciting, joyous occasion of having braces last by being aware of some of the pitfalls which may await you- and learn how to avoid them. While wearing braces you need to be aware of the dental issues that can arise and what preventative measures you can take.  Among the most common and dreaded conditions which can occur is the development of cavities. What causes cavities?

Tartar and cavity
Tartar removal

Plaque, Tartar and Cavities

One culprit, which can lurk in the nooks and crannies of your braces is plaque. We’ve all heard about plaque, the film formed by bacteria in our mouths. But did you realize that’s its build-up actually erode your teeth, leading to decay?  When thinking about plaque, think cavities. That’s where daily brushing comes in. It’s your daily dental routine and regular cleanings that prevent plaque. And that’s not the worst of it for plaque turns into the other offender: tartar. This is a range of stains and discoloration, including tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. The only way to rid your mouth of tartar is a professional deep cleaning. Wearing braces makes cleaning your teeth and gum line more challenging, so it can increase your susceptibility to tartar. But again, good daily dental habits and diet can prevent both plaque and tartar.

Patients’ Questions

Despite a patient’s best efforts, cavities may occur. Patients may ask: What happens if I have a cavity with braces? Can I have a cavity filled if I have braces?  These are good questions, and the answer to them is yes. Of course, the best outcome is to have cavities treated before you begin wearing braces. Even so, decay could occur later.
If you get a cavity while you are in traditional braces, your dentist may be able to get to the decayed area without removing the brackets and wires. If not, the dentist can temporarily remove the brackets and wires to access the area. Sometimes, the procedure may require only minor bonding. Once the decayed tooth is treated, the dentist can refit the brackets and wires to your teeth. But this extra work is time-consuming- so best to take preventative measures.

Braces-metal and invisible
Braces cavity 

Cavity Prevention Tips

Whether you’re young and new to the world of metal and wires or you’re an adult finally longing for straighter teeth, you should know how to care for your teeth and mouth to avoid cavities and the extra cost of treating them when you have braces. Here are some tips on staying cavity-free with braces:

  • Use a good brush to really get behind the wires. A regular toothbrush may not be able to do this. Also, consider an electric brush such as Water-Pik whose high pressure stream of water can dislodge pesky food particles from their hiding places.
  • Brush vigorously after every meal because the braces impede the saliva flow that can usually dislodge bits of food between teeth. The sooner the food is out- the less chance of cavities.
  • Rinse thoroughly- preferably with a fluoride mouthwash. The fluoride will give you added protection from the decay which causes cavities as it flushes away stubborn food particles.
  • See your Forest &Ray dentist more regularly if cavity-prone. Consider doing so every three months.

If you have a cavity-prone mouth, you may want to consider removable, plastic braces which can be taken off for meals and allow for more thorough cleaning after meals, anytime during the day and at bedtime. Ask the professionals and Forest&Ray Dental if this is a good option for you given your prior history of cavities.


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