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Young woman with braces playing with strawberries and covering her eyes with them

Whenever you first begin orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will recommend certain foods that you should avoid, and those which will be good for your teeth. Many times, sugary or sticky foods like candy, gum, corn, and nuts shouldn’t be eaten during the duration of your treatment as they are known to damage braces and increase the likelihood of cavities. While there is a list of foods that you should NOT eat with braces, there are plenty of options that you can still include in your diet that are just as tasty as those that you will have to avoid for a while. Find out what foods you should avoid during orthodontic treatment and what foods you can still enjoy with this guide!

 

Foods That Are Good

One of the first concerns that patients have as they begin orthodontic treatment involves the food they should and should not eat. A lot of responsibility comes with braces, as you will have to protect them by watching what you eat, cleaning them daily and adhering to your orthodontist’s instructions. To begin, let’s discuss all of the food that you CAN eat during your time with braces. Softer options are your way to go as your mouth gets used to braces, so eating food like chicken, oatmeal, rice, beans, fish, eggs and yogurt are great ways to get a lot of nutrition without breaking a bracket. Even hard fruits, like apples and pears, are good to eat as long as they’re cut into slices or smaller pieces. Don’t think you’ll be able to get away with not eating vegetables during treatment-even the crunchiest of vegetables can be steamed or sliced into slivers, making them perfectly edible for orthodontic patients. You’ll want to eat foods that you don’t need to chew much, especially after an adjustment. Soups and mashed potatoes work perfectly for a sore mouth, and sandwiches and salads (without nuts) can be eaten once you get used to the feel of braces.

 

Foods To AvoidColorful candies, lollipops and gummies

Unfortunately, the list for foods that you should avoid during treatment seems to always be much longer than those you should eat. However, the new diet that you’ll be working with for the next several months or years is actually beneficial for you in the long run as most of the food you need to avoid is sugar-filled. Hard and sticky foods are no-nos when it comes to braces; candy, caramel, nuts, chips, licorice, taffy and gum are notorious for breaking wires and brackets, plus they cause cavities. Sugary and starchy foods produce plaque and acid, and the more you eat these foods, the more likely it is that you’ll get tooth decay and gum disease. Hard foods like popcorn and ice can make the impact of braces less effective, meaning a longer treatment time and more money. Additionally, the elastic ligatures that are placed on the bracket itself can be stained by foods with strong colorants, such as berries, grape juice and beets. Even though you may feel like you’re missing out on all of your favorite foods, you’ll be surprised that most foods you love can still be eaten with braces if they’re cut smaller or skinned. You’ll need some creativity when figuring out your meal plan during treatment, but the benefits of keeping your teeth healthy and braces intact outweigh the cons of giving up some of your favorite treats for a while.

 

Taking Care Of Your Braces

Watching what you eat is just one step in your oral hygiene regimen with braces. First, begin with the basics of brushing and flossing. Take off your elastics and other removable parts of your braces and begin brushing at a 45-degree angle. Clean each tooth and bracket individually in a circular motion, and floss beneath the archwire to remove any leftover food. Flossing can be difficult with braces, so it might be a good idea if you use a floss threader to get in between teeth and under wires. These two steps are essential to thoroughly clean teeth and prevent decay from forming, so make sure that they are a part of your everyday routine. For an additional clean, rinse your mouth with mouthwash to kill bacteria and give yourself fresh breath. Lastly, always go to your orthodontic cleaning and adjustment appointments. The orthodontist will be able to monitor your tooth movement, fix broken brackets, tighten wires, remove plaque and give you pointers on how to take care of your braces.

 

Get A Beautiful Smile Today

For more information about foods you should and should not eat with braces, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! Our team has years of experience educating patients on oral health, adjusting brackets and wires and helping patients get the beautiful smiles they deserve. Call today!

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Chocolate cupcakes decorated in red, white and blue with an American flag

The Fourth of July offers fun activities full of fireworks, parades and celebrations. From hamburgers to watermelon to all kinds of delicious treats, Independence Day is a fun day for everyone. Amid all the celebrating, though, it’s important that you take care of your teeth by watching what you eat and which activities you participate in, especially when wearing braces. There are lots of food options to choose from, but it’s important to keep your oral hygiene routine in check to prevent tooth decay. Find out how you can enjoy Independence Day and protect your teeth at the same time with these tips!

 

Commit To A Regular Routine

During this holiday season, our lives go from our normal day-to-day routines to boating, barbecuing and playing with sparklers as we watch the fireworks. The Fourth of July is a week full of festivities that involve a lot of food and fun, but it’s also a time that we easily forget to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Our daily routine should include how we take care of our mouth and teeth, which means we can’t skimp on brushing and flossing, especially with braces. Plaque loves to sit on teeth as long as it can so that acid can form and eat at your tooth enamel. The longer plaque remains on your teeth, the more likely you are to experience tooth decay. During the week of the Fourth of July, it may be tempting to let your kids skip their normal bedtime routine due to a firework show or a late-night party, but even one night of not brushing and flossing lets harmful bacteria wreak havoc on your child’s teeth. Braces are especially susceptible to the effects of poor oral hygiene as they easily trap food particles around the brackets and underneath the archwire. One tip that can help your kids remember their oral health during the holiday is to keep a brushing calendar. These calendars are simple and easy to use, and they help kids stay on track each day, no matter what busy activity they’re participating in. You can find a brushing calendar at most department stores or you can ask your child’s dentist for one.

 

Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks

Blonde little boy drinking water from a water bottle

beautiful blonde child drink water outdoor

One of the biggest mistakes that kids and adults alike make during the Fourth of July involves the type of food that they consume, specifically sugary foods or meals full of starches. It’s hard to resist a juicy burger with a slice of cherry pie, a sugary funnel cake or a cold lemonade, but these holiday foods are full of sugar and starches that not only affect your waistline, but your teeth, as well. Eating lots of foods high in sugar increases your risk of cavities, even if you’re good at brushing your teeth. It’s easy to hand your child a juice box or can of soda while they’re watching the parade, but it’s more beneficial if you offer healthier choices, like water, to keep them cool and hydrated. It’s even better if you can give your child water that contains fluoride, which hardens tooth enamel and safeguards teeth against cavities. For picky kids, milk and fresh juices are also alternatives to sugar-packed sodas and do a good job at protecting teeth. Before all of your fun activities begin, plan out snacks and healthy options for meals that you can provide that will protect kids’ teeth while they’re out having fun. For those with braces, make sure to avoid hard foods like corn on the cob, chips and candy, and don’t forget about sticky foods like caramel, taffy and licorice. Hard and sticky foods are notorious for breaking brackets and wires, which are no fun to deal with on the Fourth of July.

 

Protect Your Braces

Choosing healthy food options over the holidays is an essential part of protecting braces, brackets and wires. Braces are durable orthodontic appliances, but even they can break from a simple accident, like biting an apple. To maintain the structural integrity of your braces, make sure to brush after each meal (which may be difficult to do when you’re out and about) and use threadable floss to remove pesky food particles from getting stuck. You may even need to use a proxabrush, which is referred to as a “Christmas tree brush” that thoroughly cleans between each bracket whenever normal toothbrushing can’t do the trick. Keeping your teeth and braces clean will prevent tooth decay from developing and will help remind you to watch what you’re eating. Lastly, make sure to schedule regular checkups and cleanings with your orthodontist to remove any plaque that may have built up around your braces and ensure that their functioning correctly.

 

Schedule A Checkup

At Belmar Orthodontics, we are prepared to help you enjoy this year’s Independence Day by providing dental and orthodontic checkups. Our experienced staff is dedicated to your oral health throughout the entire year, and we can help you and your family receive the beautiful smiles that you deserve. To schedule a checkup or for more tips on how you can protect your family’s teeth this Independence Day, call our office at (303) 225-9016. Your journey to a healthy smile begins today!

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Teenage girls playing with braces playing with a ball in the pool

Most orthodontic patients are young adolescents and teenagers, and many of these patients participate in sports that increase their likelihood of having a mouth injury during treatment time. Injuries to the mouth, especially with braces, can be very painful and cause a lot of damage. Protecting your teeth as you play a sport can prevent serious damage and keep your teeth safe. Safety gear, like mouth guards, can protect teeth during a sporting event and prevent costly repairs. Find out how you can protect your child’s teeth with braces with these tips!

 

Common Mouth Injuries

We’ve all experienced some kind of mouth injury, whether from a fall or getting hit during an athletic event. While not all mouth injuries are severe, even the smallest cut or bruise can be painful, especially when it occurs in the mouth. Trauma to the lips, gums and mouth are common since the tissues are so soft and exposed. Teeth can easily cut the lip or inside of the mouth, and a fall can make you bite your tongue. With braces, mouth injuries can cause even more damage as the appliance itself can get lodged into or cut the cheeks, tongue and gums. Other symptoms include swelling, bruising, bleeding and cuts on the lips and tongue. Since there is a rich supply of blood in the mouth, cuts in the mouth tend to bleed heavily in contrast to other areas of the body. It’s especially important for kids to protect their mouths whenever they have an orthodontic appliance on, because braces, brackets and wires are notorious for breaking and poking into the mouth, causing damage. Using protective gear can protect kids’ teeth and braces from injury without them having to give up the sports and activities that they love.

 

Importance of Mouth GuardsA little girl doing karate with a mouth guard in her mouth

One of the best tools to use to protect kids’ teeth while playing sports is a mouth guard. In sports like football and boxing, mouth guards are required, but in most other sports it’s purely optional. Sports’ injuries can include chipped or broken teeth, fractured tooth roots and damage to orthodontic appliances, but mouth guards can prevent those injuries from occurring in the first place. Athletes with braces carry a higher risk of experiencing a mouth injury that is extensive and costly. Mouth injuries with braces can knock out or damage several teeth that are adjacent to one another because of the brackets and wires, so using a mouth guard is an essential tool to protect yourself. Mouth guards for braces are typically wider than normal mouth guards so that they can easily cover the braces, teeth and gums while still providing a comfortable fit. For full protection and functionality, the mouth guard should fit well and not impede your breathing. Fortunately, while mouth injuries are expensive to fix, mouth guards are relatively cheap appliances to buy. You can buy over-the-counter mouth guards at nearly every major store, or you can have a custom-made mouth guard from the dentist that is created from a mold to match the impression of your teeth. Mouth guards are preventative measures to protect your child from injuries before they happen, but accidents still occur even if you’ve prepared yourself. If your child has a mouth injury while wearing braces and their teeth or braces were hurt, make sure to schedule a checkup with their orthodontist so that their appliance and mouth can be reviewed for damage.

 

How To Keep Teeth Healthy

While we can’t always avoid mouth injuries, we can strengthen our teeth by following a few simple rules. Sports aren’t the only way that braces can be damaged; hard candies and foods can cause just as much damage as an injury can. Throughout orthodontic treatment, it’s best for your child to avoid foods like nuts, chips, carrots, ice, gum, caramel and other sticky candies that can break brackets and wires. Brackets are cemented onto the tooth, and whenever they get broken off, it can be extremely painful and cause permanent damage. Your child is also more at risk for cavities whenever they eat these sugary and starchy foods as plaque easily accumulates around the brackets and under the wires. Avoiding these foods in general will prevent the appliances from breaking and decay from forming. Encouraging your child to commit to regularly brushing and flossing their teeth each day will also keep their teeth clean and avoid food particles from getting stuck in their teeth, which can lead to decay. Regular orthodontic checkups will also allow your child’s orthodontist to monitor their teeth movement, recognize any signs of decay and adjust their appliance.

 

Protecting Your Child’s Oral Health

If your child is involved in sports and has braces, consider having them use a mouth guard. At Belmar Orthodontics, we can advise you on what mouth guards would work best for your child and their activity, plus we can help fit it for them. When it comes to your child’s oral health, the easy way is not always the best way. Protect your child’s teeth from injury by calling our office today at (303) 225-9016 to find out what else you can do to protect your child from mouth injuries!

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Young red haired woman in braces smiling

Many patients receive orthodontic care during childhood or early adolescence. As modern technology has advanced, so has the need for orthodontic care in patients of all ages. Whether your symptoms are severe or not, orthodontic care can help monitor face and jaw development, reduce the risk of impacted teeth and correct life-time dental issues. Early detection and treatment are essential for good oral health and maintaining a beautiful smile. No matter what your age is, find out how orthodontic care can benefit you now and what effects it can have on you in the future with this guide!

 

Benefits of Orthodontics

Just like any other product you buy or activity that you participate in, orthodontics is an investment. It is an investment of time, money and patience, but the results can be life-changing. There are a variety of options to choose from when receiving orthodontic care, and many are so discreet that you hardly even notice that they’re there. Orthodontic treatment helps establish good oral health and can pave the way for a healthy smile now and in the future. A healthy bite and a good-looking smile is just as important at age 60 as it is at 16, and orthodontic treatment is the way that you can ensure that you have both. For kids, some benefits of early orthodontics include:

 

  • Observe the progress of incoming teeth
  • Guide teeth into their ideal positions
  • Monitor face and jaw development
  • Reduce the risk of impacted teeth
  • Detect hidden dental issues

 

As technological advances in dental science has improved, there are more options than ever for adults seeking orthodontic treatment. Many times, adults have been struggling with specific orthodontic issues since childhood that have never been resolved, but orthodontic care can fix that. Even though orthodontic treatment is most successful during adolescence as teeth and jaw bones are still developing, adults can still enjoy improvements to their oral health with orthodontic treatment at any age. Whether it be traditional metal brackets or other discreet options, like Invisalign, there are plenty of ways to straighten teeth. Some of the many benefits that adult orthodontics provide include:

 

  • Faster treatment time than former orthodontic techniques
  • Correction of life-time dental problems
  • More discreet treatment methods
  • Increased self-esteem and confidence

 

When To See An OrthodontistClose up of crooked teeth of girl

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit by age 7 or 8 to prevent the progression of any orthodontic issues that may be present. Even if you do not detect any dental issues with your child, it is still important that they get evaluated early on so that their teeth and jaw development can be properly monitored. If you notice that your child has bite problems or protruding teeth, it is time for them to see an orthodontist. Bite problems, such as a crossbite, cause the jaws to develop unevenly, while protruding teeth can be fractured or injured much easier than normal teeth. For both children and adults, there are certain signs that you should look out for that may necessitate an orthodontic visit. Some of these symptoms include difficulty chewing or biting, jaws that shift or make sounds, grinding/clenching teeth, biting the cheek or roof of the mouth, protruding teeth, and facial imbalance or asymmetry (facial features out of proportion). Even oral habits, such as thumb-sucking, affect how the mouth develops and can necessitate orthodontic treatment. For many patients, orthodontic treatment isn’t necessarily needed but is wanted to improve self-confidence and give them a prettier smile. Whatever your reason is, orthodontic care can help you reach your goals and improve your oral health at any stage in life.

 

How You Can Start

After you make the decision to begin orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, the first thing to do is schedule an appointment with your orthodontist for a consultation. This consultation will allow both of you to establish appropriate goals, address concerns and develop a treatment plan. Additionally, taking good care of your teeth at home by maintaining an oral health regimen is important to keep your teeth healthy and prepare them for orthodontic treatment. Consistent brushing and flossing each day will protect your teeth and gums from plaque, tooth decay and cavities. During orthodontic treatment, it’s essential to maintain this routine to avoid any complications from occurring, which can extend treatment time and be costly to fix.

 

If you have questions regarding orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! Our talented staff is dedicated to you and your oral health goals, and will strive to help you get the beautiful smile that you deserve!

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A young adult male that is having his teeth examined by a dental hygienist.

Dentists and orthodontists are both highly-trained professionals that can transform your smile. However, they provide completely different services to patients and both may be needed to help get your smile as healthy as possible. Orthodontic treatment connects to dentistry in many ways, as do the professionals themselves. If you’re like many others, you may need both professionals to keep your oral health in check.

 

Your Oral Care

Did you know that your oral health can affect all other aspects of your health? This is especially true if you already have some chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. If your oral health isn’t taken care of, your overall health can worse and you are more susceptible to infection. If you don’t control chronic conditions, your oral health can worsen, as the blood vessels that nourish your teeth and gums can become damaged. Your teeth are more likely to decay and get infections that lead to tooth loss.

 

That is why taking care of your oral health is so important. It can help determine the state of your overall health and if you keep your teeth for a few years or for many. Many people need both an orthodontist and a dentist to help keep their mouth healthy. Not everyone needs an orthodontist alongside their dental care, but millions do. At least 4 million are getting braces each year in the United States alone to correct bite, alignment and problems with the teeth that lead to oral health diseases. When oral health care is happening at home, yet gum disease tooth decay continue to happen, it’s time to also seek help from an orthodontist.

A young adult woman that is having her teeth looked at by a dental hygienist. She is looking up at the hygienist as she does her exam.

How Can a Dentist Help You?

A dentist is a professional that every person needs. Dentists are vital to you having good oral health for life. They can detect the presence of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, oral sores and any other oral problem, plus they do the work to help correct those issues. These professionals go to school for 10 years just learning about your mouth and facial structures so they can help you stay healthy. Orthodontists receive all that same training, plus 2-3 extra years learning about straightening teeth, bite and alignment issues and structural problems with the mouth.

 

Because these professionals do different work, you will probably need both. Dentists have the primary duty to find the presence of tooth decay (cavities) using digital and x-ray technology. Then they have many different procedures to remove decay, fill the cavity, and restore your smile. They can do cosmetic work to make your smile look better and they deal primarily with oral health diseases and helping you avoid them so you don’t have early tooth loss. Orthodontists are trained to see cavities and oral health issues, but they will do structural work to help change your smile instead of dealing with the disease aspect of your oral health. Their work focuses on prevention of those issues in the first place.

 

How Can an Orthodontist Help You?

Did you know that people have had orthodontic care at least since the time of the Ancient Egyptians? More discoveries are finding orthodontic appliances on teeth thousands of years ago. Why? Because people that long ago also understood the benefits of straighter teeth. It took many centuries for orthodontists and orthodontic work to become established.

 

Studies found that straighter teeth made dental issues less likely to happen. When patients received orthodontic straightening—even through crude methods—they were less likely to have their teeth decay or break and less likely to have gum issues. The same holds true today. Crooked teeth are teeth that are much harder to clean. In a straight, even bite, the top front teeth rest just slightly in front of the bottom front teeth. From the front to the back, the teeth rest evenly on one another, evening out pressure from biting, chewing, eating, talking and more.

 

When the teeth are crooked, patients will get areas where they simply can’t get a toothbrush or floss to and those areas decay. The teeth may be at odd angles, and with uneven pressure placed on those teeth all the time, they may simply break. If you have crooked teeth, an orthodontist can easily make a plan to straighten them. Using digital x-rays, an orthodontist can examine your bite, alignment and incoming teeth and can make a plan to ensure all your teeth line up for the best oral health you could have.

 

A young adult woman that is having her teeth and gums looked at by both a dental hygienist and dentist.

Do You Need an Orthodontist?

Not everyone will need an orthodontist, but their care can benefit most people. Even getting slight straightening of the teeth can reduce your dental breaks, emergencies and issues with oral health diseases. Orthodontic care can even help with bad breath if that stems from plaque and bacteria in the mouth that you can’t quite get rid of. To know for sure if you need an orthodontist, make sure to schedule an examination.

 

For children, the national recommendation by groups such as the American Association of Orthodontics is to visit an orthodontist around age 7 or 8. This is a key time for an orthodontist to be able to tell if the incoming adult teeth are coming in at the correct angle and place in the mouth. Oral health issues that can become severe later on in life can be caught early and childhood and many oral problems can be prevented with some orthodontic care. For all other issues with finding and filling cavities, gum disease, sores and more, make sure to call your dentist. To schedule your consultation with the orthodontist, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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An attractive, young adult male that is sitting in a dental chair as a dental hygienist prepares tools in the background.

Studies show that not enough Americans are taking good care of their teeth, especially through dental and orthodontic treatment. The advanced technology available today is what allows patients to keep their natural teeth healthy for life and is something that millions in the world don’t have access to. Find out why oral health services such as orthodontic treatment is so important to patients and something to be thankful for this time of year!

 

Your Oral Health

When you think of the most chronic conditions and diseases that plague people today, you may not think of cavities as being one of the them. The National Institutes of Health reports that tooth decay—or cavities—are the most “chronic, prevalent disease” among American children and adults. In fact, about 92% of people have tooth decay by the time they reach adulthood. In all age groups, roughly between 20% and 25% of people have untreated decay they are not aware of.

 

What does tooth decay have to do with orthodontic treatment? This decay can happen to anyone at anytime and you are more likely to have tooth decay during your orthodontic treatment. Many patients opt for lingual, ceramic or traditional metal braces to straighten their teeth. These methods require brackets that are bonded to the teeth with wires that pass through those brackets. Even though these appliances are highly effective for providing beautiful straightening power, they can make it harder to clean your teeth. Because it’s harder to clean them, and some patients don’t take the extra time to do this, you can end up with tooth decay. That adds to that 92% statistic.

 

The best way to eliminate your risk for that tooth decay (as well as other oral health diseases), is to properly care for your teeth both with and without braces. That involves brushing your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes at a time, as recommended by the American Dental Association. When you have braces, you have to do this after every meal to avoid acidic plaque buildup, which happens when your food and drink sugars mix with mouth bacteria. With braces, threadable floss to go around brackets and wires is generally needed, as well as cleaning items such as a waterpik (water shooter) tool and a proxabrush for brackets. Your oral health can be stellar during orthodontic treatment with the right oral hygiene.

 

A beautiful brunette teen that has braces on her teeth and that is holding a toothbrush and interdental brush in her hands.

How Does the U.S. Compare?

Orthodontic treatment is a time when those in the U.S. can have a greater risk for developing cavities. This comes from a lack of oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment period. However, the world at large is battling oral health diseases and poor dental and orthodontic care on an epidemic scale. The World Health Organization reports that cavities (tooth decay) and gum disease (periodontal disease) “have historically been considered the most important global oral health burdens”.

 

60%-90% of people worldwide have tooth decay and oral diseases connected to this condition. Children are affected the most, but statistics are almost as high in adults worldwide. Even though the U.S. is at a high percentage when it comes to tooth decay (92%), the presence of tooth decay is generally eliminated in most of the population through proper dental work and access to dental services. In the majority of other countries—especially underdeveloped ones—dental or orthodontic work is not a possibility for most. Oral health diseases are simply left untreated or the teeth are pulled when they become too painful.

 

The Connection to Orthodontic Treatment

Getting a cavity or having an oral health problem during your life can definitely be avoided, but most people will have some sort of oral problem, even if it is small. There are ways to prevent those problems such as proper brushing and flossing every single day. A great way to reduce your risk for oral health diseases is through orthodontic treatment. For children, this is known as child orthodontics. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic appointment between age 7 or 8.

 

This is a time when baby teeth are starting to fall out and adult, permanent teeth are starting to come into the mouth. Proper examination by an orthodontist can sport bite and alignment issues that are developing in children. When these issues occur, the teeth can come in crooked all over or they may not rest in the position they are supposed to. This can lead to speech impediments, many dental emergencies and broken teeth in the future from uneven dental pressure, higher instances of tooth decay and gum disease, and problems with oral health diseases.

 

Orthodontic treatment when young can help align the teeth and jaws to prevent oral problems as a child grows. When teens and adults receive orthodontic treatment via braces, they can better straighten permanent teeth when they come in. This sets everything straight and functional before the jaws harden in adulthood. Straight teeth and aligned jaws make it so cleaning the teeth becomes almost effortless. The risk for tooth decay and gum disease is also significantly lower.

 

A young brunette teen girl that has just gotten braces on her teeth and is smiling at her reflection in a mirror at the dental office.

Be Thankful for Your Orthodontic Treatment

Dentistry and orthodontic treatment helps diminish the presence of oral diseases.Yes, tooth decay and gum disease happen frequently due to poor oral hygiene habits. However, orthodontic treatment can help prevent those problems in the first place. Great oral care can prevent developing problems throughout your life. Even when these issues do happen, you won’t have to simply get your teeth pulled or let them decay and fall out of your mouth.

 

You have great orthodontic and dental options in the United States that allow you to keep your teeth, while many people across the globe have to lose them. Remember that the next time you think about skipping your oral care appointments. To reduce your risk for oral health diseases, you can call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 and ask about your orthodontic treatment plan.

 

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Woman that is cleaning her braces brackets with an interdental brush.

Braces is an exciting time for getting that straight smile you’ve always wanted. The not-so-exciting part about braces though, is that they give you a greater risk for cavities. Because there are appliances attached to your teeth, they can become havens for bacteria and plaque buildup. Proper oral hygiene, avoiding certain foods can help you prevent cavities during your time with braces!

 

Your First Orthodontic Appointment

Finding cavities before you get braces is key to ensuring that you have a healthy smile before getting brackets and wires on your teeth. With braces, you will meet often with your orthodontist to have your braces adjusted.  However, you still need to go to your dental appointments to make sure you don’t have cavities during braces.

 

Traditional metal braces, ceramic braces and lingual braces all have brackets and wires that go on your teeth. Before you get fitted for these braces, you will have dental x-rays taken by the dentist to detect cavities. It’s very important to get your exam so tooth decay is detected. Otherwise, you could end up with large cavities during braces. If cavities are found, they must be fixed before we put your braces on.

 

Young woman with braces that is at a dental appointment having her teeth examined.

Oral Hygiene Is a Must

The status of your smile and your oral health will depend on what you do once you get your braces. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing 1-2 times. That recommendation is for patients who don’t have braces. When you have braces, you have to be extra meticulous with oral hygiene practices and you will have to do them more than you used to. That means, brushing after every single meal if you can.

To avoid cavities during braces:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste, and brush for 2 minutes every time, making sure to go in all different directions to dislodge food.
  • Floss your teeth. This is a habit many people skip with braces because it takes a bit more time. However, it’s time well spent. Floss at least twice a day, using threadable floss. This kind of floss allows you to thread it through the spaces between your teeth, pulling it through so you can floss like normal. It makes flossing a breeze and helps prevent cavities during braces.
  • Use orthodontic cleaning tools. A waterpik is a great water-spraying tool that can help you dislodge stuck food. A braces brush (that looks like a Christmas tree brush) can get food out of brackets.
  • Watch what you eat! More sugar means more cavities during braces. Limit how much sugar you eat. You want to avoid sticky, sugary foods such as taffy, Starbursts, dried fruit, gummies, fruit snacks, caramels, and anything similar.

 

Close-up view of a woman's mouth as she is brushing her teeth with braces.

Developing Cavities During Braces

Sometimes, tooth enamel is simply weak and tooth decay happens, despite all your hard effort to avoid cavities. When you eat, sugars in your food mixes with mouth bacteria to create plaque. That plaque sticks to your teeth and slowly eats it away, creating decay. You only need plaque stuck in the right place to develop cavities during braces. When you have hidden tooth decay, you may start to feel symptoms such as a toothache, tooth sensitivity or pains with hot and cold. When you see these signs, get dental x-rays taken to see if you have cavities during braces.

 

If there is a cavity, you actually can have it fixed even if you have braces. It all depends on where the decay is. In most cases, cavities during braces can be fixed because many will lie on surfaces not covered with brackets or wires. You would have the decay drilled out and filled as you normally would. However, if you have a band on your teeth or brackets and wires right where decay is, we would have to remove the bracket or wire while you get it fixed at the dental office. We would then have you come back to our office to get your dental appliance reattached. Patients can sometimes develop such severe cavities during braces that they will need root canals. However, if you are taking care of your teeth, you won’t ever have to worry about that.

 

 

Best Option to Avoid Cavities

If you are worried about cavities during braces or have seen a family member get cavities during braces, then getting braces might make you nervous. However, no matter what braces option you choose, the benefits of a straight, beautiful smile can last a lifetime. It’s definitely worth it to get braces; you will just have to be careful to take care of them. If cavities during braces are a concern, consider the benefits of using Invisalign aligners. This is one of our most popular orthodontic options for teens and adults because it is a hidden option for straightening your teeth.

 

Invisalign transparent aligners are a series of custom-made aligners (like retainers) that fit incredibly snug to your teeth. We take digital calculations of your mouth, where we then design transparent aligners around the shape of your teeth and where we want them to be 18-24 months from that time. Each week, you will switch to a new aligner, which will slowly put pressure on different areas of your mouth, shaping the teeth into a straight line. The aligners are clear and designed to be virtually unnoticeable on your teeth.

 

When it comes to cavities during braces, you are the one that decides if you will get them with this orthodontic option. That’s because that are completely removable for eating, drinking, flossing and brushing your teeth. It takes less time to brush and floss because of this and there are no appliances on your teeth. This can reduce your risk for cavities during braces, especially if you already know that you have weak tooth enamel. For any questions about cavities during braces, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!

 

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A young girl having her mouth looked at by a dentist.

More than half the people that wear braces are children and teens. This can be an exciting time for kids to fix bite problems and crooked teeth. However, tooth decay and oral health problems also run rampant during braces if oral hygiene guidelines aren’t followed. Sometimes children and teens need a nudge to help them with their oral health. Find out what they should be doing to care for their braces during this time!

 

Facts About Braces

Did you know that there are over 4 million people in the United States each year that wear braces? About 1/4th of those are adults and the rest are children and teens. Patients use braces as teens to straighten the adult, permanent teeth that have come in. When children have child orthodontics, those brackets and wires are meant to correct bite and alignment issues that could cause a child severe problems in the future. Children can then straighten their permanent teeth later on.

 

There are common oral health problems that many children face today. It’s called tooth decay, and the National Institutes of Health reports that it’s the most “prevalent, chronic disease” among children and adults. 42% of children will have tooth decay before they are 12. 23% of those will have untreated dental decay. About 92% of adults have had tooth decay sometime in their life. The worst part about this is that tooth decay is completely preventable if a child, teen or adult has good oral health through practicing proper oral hygiene.

 

It may take several years for a child to have the right dexterity in their hands to brush and floss correctly. That is why parents must take care of their child’s oral health when they are young, or it could lead to serious problems. Children rely on parents to help their mouth stay healthy. Even teens need to be told to brush and floss, as it’s something they often forget. These habits are especially important during braces, as oral health is most affected when there are brackets and wires on the teeth.

 

A young boy with braces on his teeth smiling at the camera.

Helping Your Child’s Oral Health

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children see a dentist around 1 year or within 6 months of their first tooth coming in. After that, they should go biannually to the dentist. This is how a dentist can start to see signs of bite and alignment problems, which are then referred to an orthodontist.

 

With some orthodontic appointments, a child can be fitted for braces to correct problems that are easy to fix with a young, moldable jaw, but hard to fix when a person is older and their jaws are set. Without braces, you will have to help your child brush and floss their teeth at least twice a day as the American Dental Association recommends. Use child toothpaste enhanced with decay-fighting fluoride and a toothbrush that fits the size of your child’s mouth.

 

Children will need to floss between their teeth, but might have to start out with flossers for kids. With braces, children should be brushing at least twice a day, but after every meal is even better. They should brush at 45-degree angles, making sure to move in all different directions to dislodge food that has been stuck in the braces. Flossing is incredibly important as well, as it gets 40% of tooth surfaces that are missed if flossing is skipped. Help them learn how to use threadable floss. This gets poked through the spaces between their teeth, pulled through, and flossed like you would normally do. Use a Christmas tree brush or a waterpik to help them dislodge stuck food.

 

Do You Have Good Habits?

One of the best ways to help your child with their oral health is to show them its importance through your own actions. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth, your child or teen may not either. When you’re also not visiting the dentist, odds are that your child isn’t either. If you eat a poor diet full of sugar, then your child will do the same. Children often copy what their parents do.

 

Make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day, especially when your children can see you. Floss your teeth and teach them how to floss properly as well. When you need to go to the dentist, take your children with you and have them get their comprehensive exams and cleanings. All these oral health measures will ensure their mouths stay clean and healthy for years!

 

Close-up view of a young patient's mouth while they are brushing their braces with a toothbrush.

Other Factors to Consider

Your child can brush and floss their teeth often and may still end up with cavities. Cavities come from plaque in the mouth that has set on the teeth for too long. Your mouth makes plaque when you eat sugary foods and that sugar mixes with mouth bacteria to make acidic plaque. That acid is what causes the tooth decay. However, if you limit your sugar intake to begin with, you won’t have the problem with tooth decay.

 

Unfortunately, sugar is one of the most-consumed substances in the world. It is literally found in almost every food. That is why tooth decay is so common, especially in children. Limit your child’s sugar intake if you want them to have healthy teeth when their braces come off. Teeth that don’t get brushed or flossed often with braces, may end up having cavities, gum disease and eroded areas of their teeth when braces come off.

 

Their food can also leave them with squares on their teeth from the brackets, because the surrounding tooth has been damaged by food. Make sure to consider what your child is putting in their mouth if you want to help them have good oral health! For more tips or answers to questions about your child’s braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Girl with braces having a dental exam

Did you know that an orthodontist and a dentist are not the same? Only a dentist can help with cavities, gum disease and more, while only an orthodontist can straighten your teeth in a certain way. A patient’s time with braces is a time when cavities happen very quickly, because the teeth are harder to clean. To prevent cavities during your time with braces, it is vital that you continue to see a dentist. If you do happen to get a cavity, find out what that cavity treatment will look like!

 

Proper Oral Hygiene

The American Dental Association recommends that every patient brush their teeth at least twice a day to avoid tooth decay. Brushing after every meal is even better for avoiding plaque buildup that leads to decay. Every patient should also floss their teeth at least once a day. Using fluoride toothpaste is best, because fluoride helps coat the teeth in a protective layer that prevents decay and keeps tooth enamel stronger. Patients can also benefit from mouthwash, as it can kill bacteria that would otherwise create plaque.

 

However, these recommendations are for people that don’t have braces. Every single person—children, teens and adults—should follow these recommendations. Infants should not use fluoride or mouthwash, but their child toothpastes generally have safe amounts of fluoride in them. If you are a patient that is receiving orthodontic care via braces, you have to go the extra mile with your oral hygiene. That means more frequent brushing, more flossing and watching what you eat.

 

Close-up view of braces that are being brushed with a toothbrush

Taking Care of Braces

Braces can be tricky to clean. However, their design provides the best and quickest way for you to straighten your teeth, which is why traditional metal braces have been around for so many decades. Metal braces, ceramic braces and lingual braces all have a brackets-and-wires design.

 

However, with braces, you must be meticulous with cleaning them or you will have food and plaque get stuck places. If you don’t unstick those substances, they will quickly erode your tooth enamel and cause decay around your appliances. This can happen on every tooth as well.

Follow these tips for cleaning your braces:

  • Brush after every single meal. This reduces staining and bacteria buildup. Use a regular soft-bristled brush and brush down from the top, then up from the bottom. Brush in all different directions to dislodge food.
  • Use a threadable floss or a floss threader. Both will require that you thread the floss through each space between your teeth. You will have to go under the wire to do this, and it will take slightly longer than normal flossing. This is one of the most important oral hygiene recommendations to follow!
  • Use helpful tools. A proxabrush is a small braces brush that can help unstick foods. It looks like a tiny Christmas Tree brush. A waterpik is also helpful. This is a tool that helps blast away food particles with a stream of water.

 

Tooth Decay with Braces

Many children and teens skip flossing or brushing here and there. Every time you skip on an oral hygiene habit, it increases your risk for tooth decay—or cavities—with braces. Your time with braces is one where you have to be super careful about your oral health. Most people picture their beautiful smile after getting their braces off, but they don’t think about cavities and tooth erosion. You can end up with tooth decay and parts of your teeth that have eroded due to your oral hygiene habits with braces.

 

Nobody wants to spend 18-24 months perfecting their teeth only to be disappointed in their smile. That’s why oral hygiene is so important. Tooth decay happens rapidly, and it can happen where the brackets are bonded to your teeth and in-between your teeth because it is harder to floss. Normally, you would simply visit the dentist and have your cavity removed and filled. However, cavity treatment is a bit different with braces.

 

Young boy with braces getting a cavity treatment at a dental office

 

Cavity Treatment with Braces

Cavity treatment is slightly harder if you have braces, but not impossible. Generally, decay happens between teeth cracks and around brackets and wires. If you have tooth decay that is in a tricky spot, we can remove your wire so that a dentist can provide you with a proper cavity treatment. You will have to have your appointments scheduled close together (dentist and orthodontist) so that you can get your cavity filled and your wire replaced.

 

In severe cases of tooth decay, we may have to remove a bracket from the tooth if it interferes with the dental work that needs to be done. We only do this in certain cases, and we replace the missing part as soon as possible so your teeth don’t move. Cavity treatment—with taking out the tooth decay and filling it—is the same with braces as it is without, only you have to work around orthodontic appliances if you have braces. Always let us know if you have tooth sensitivity, sharp (and even mild) pain when chewing and if you have sensitivity to hot or cold foods. This signals that there may be a more severe cavity.

 

Prevent Cavity Treatment

The goal of every patient—old and young—is to avoid tooth decay altogether. If you do, you’ll never have to worry about cavity treatment with braces. If your decay is small and in a tricky spot, you may have to wait until your braces are off to receive your cavity treatment. That might make your cavity grow larger, which is something you don’t want. Always see the dentist to check your mouth for tooth decay before you receive orthodontic treatment. This can avoid many problems in the future.

 

If you are prone to getting cavities or you have weak enamel, consider receiving Invisalign treatment instead of getting brackets and wires. This will help you avoid problems with cavities and needing to get cavity treatment. If you have tooth pain or want to learn more about cavity treatment with braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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child eating a sugary treat

Did you know that the more sugar you eat, the more at-risk you are for cavities? Sugar itself doesn’t necessarily cause a an immediate cavity, but you do get tooth decay because of the effects of sugar on your teeth. That is why it’s so important to brush and floss your teeth every day and to keep your mouth clean. You may be watching your sugar intake, not realizing that you are still going over  recommended sugar guidelines. Even diet or “healthy” foods are full of sugar in many cases, which means you might be at a higher risk for tooth decay than you think. Find out what the sugar guidelines are for each age group, what sugar does to your teeth and how you can prevent cavities for both you and your children!

 

How Does Sugar Affect You?

Sugar can be so sweet, but not when it comes to your teeth or your body. Did you know that sugar does not actually have any nutritional value? It is an added substance that is found in too many foods to name. It’s even found in baby food, meaning even a small baby may be getting too much sugar in their diet. Sugar has damaging effects to children and adults alike. It not only leads to cavities (more about that later), but it can lead to obesity and weight gain, and inability to lose weight, and can increase your risk for diabetes and other chronic diseases. Sugar can be addicting, and the more you eat, the more you crave.

 

Many people will eat a meal and want to end each meal with something sweet. This is because sugar causes a release of dopamine in your system, which leads to a “feel-good” emotion that people crave. However, sugar also leads to an energy crash, generally within a half hour. Before you think about putting that sugary treat in your mouth, think about how it will affect your teeth and your oral health.

 

model of teeth with tooth decay surrounded by piles of sugar

Sugar and Your Teeth

Did you know that sugar is one of the worst substances for your teeth? Your tooth enamel and sugar does not mix well. In fact, sugar actually attacks your teeth in a way. Sugar is found in most foods and drinks that people consume. When you eat, that sugar dissolves and mixes with bacteria in your mouth. That mixture forms a sticky, transparent substance that sticks to your teeth like glue. We like to called this substance plaque, and you might even have some on your teeth right now if you look closely.

 

The more sugar you eat, the more plaque your mouth will make. Even though plaque is clear, it is acidic in nature. When it coats your teeth, it starts to erode away your tooth enamel. That’s why sugar is such a concern when it comes to your oral health, and why dentists are always recommending patients to limit their sugar intake. More sugar means more plaque, which means more cavities for you. If you start to cut out sugar from your diet, or your child’s you may notice that your child will start to have fewer minor health problems and fewer cavities. If children and adults alike limit the sugar they consume while they have braces, they are much less likely to have eroded or decayed teeth when they get their braces off. Plaque already sticks to the teeth like crazy without braces. With them, it sticks even more and gets into the brackets as well.

 

Woman holding a sign that says eat less sugar

Sugar Guidelines for Your Age Group

Did you know that there are sugar guidelines for how much sugar you should eat in a day? Those sugar guidelines don’t only come from a dentist, but countless health institutions. The National Institute of Health and the American Heart Association report that too many people are over-exceeding their daily sugar recommendation by more than double! Men should only be having up to 9 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is about 36 total grams of sugar or 150 calories. Women should only have up to 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams or 100 calories. Children should have little to no sugar and should consume well below 6 grams of added sugars a day.

 

However, studies show that many people over 18 are consuming an average of 34 grams of sugar a day. Children over 6 are getting 20 grams or more of added sugar a day and even babies 1-3 years old are getting 12 grams or more. It’s no wonder that the NIH reports that tooth decay (known as “cavities”) is the most chronic prevalent disease among children and adults!

 

Combat Tooth Decay During Braces

You want to be incredibly vigilant with taking care of your oral health, especially with braces. Brush and floss your teeth several times a day. We recommend brushing your teeth after every single meal to get rid of acidic plaque and food particles that get stuck so easily in brackets. Don’t forget to floss your teeth. Use floss threaders to make this part of cleaning your braces easier. Cleaning your teeth only takes a few minutes a day (even with braces) and it’s never something you want to skip.

 

You’re spending 18-24 months straightening your teeth. You don’t want that beautiful smile to be full of areas of tooth decay and tooth erosion when your braces come off. If you want a beautiful smile, follow the recommended sugar guidelines for your age group. Brush and floss your teeth meticulously and take care of your oral health. If you need help making cleaning your braces easier, call our Belmar Orthodontics office anytime at (303) 225-9016!