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Your Oral Health

Is my child with braces more susceptible to tooth decay?

Yes. Trapped food particles mixed with sugar and bacteria create an ideal situation for decay to begin. Between the braces being attached directly to the teeth, and the wires that connect everything, it is nearly impossible to adequately clean the underlying teeth. A power toothbrush and water pik can reduce the chance of decay dramatically.

Tooth decay is caused by the process of minerals (calcium, etc) being taken out of the teeth. The first step of this process is called demineralization. Children with braces tend to get more demineralization than kids without braces, due to acid attacks and food getting stuck in the braces, which are the main causes of demineralization. To combat these factors, fluoride treatments are available to help remineralize teeth and make them more resistant to the acid.

A cleaning and a fluoride treatment, or just a fluoride treatment, can be obtained at either an orthodontist̢۪s office or at a general dentist. Many orthodontists will prescribe fluoride mouth rinse or prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste for kids who seem to be at a higher risk level. Sometimes orthodontists might also recommend an over-the-counter fluoride mouth rinse.

It is crucial that children with braces receive cleanings twice a year and fluoride treatment as needed to reduce their risk of tooth decay and ensure they have a chance at a healthy mouth for life.