The point of having braces is to fix pre-existing dental issues, but if you don’t practice smart oral care while you have them installed, you may be causing some serious damage to the teeth you’re investing in.

If you’re wondering what happens if you don’t brush your teeth when you have braces, you can develop serious dental issues like gingivitis, cavities, and tooth decay.

Teeth can be notoriously difficult to clean with braces on. Some people can find themselves jamming objects like toothpicks into them in order to clean plaque build up, but this can do a lot more harm than good. You can damage your gums, chip teeth, or even get foreign objects stuck in the wiring. This is why you need to take proper care of your mouth to prevent tooth decay after braces have been installed.

Keeping a healthy smile with braces involves several steps:

  • Brush regularly with a brush that has soft bristles and a brush that correctly fits your mouth. This way can get to all the hard to reach spots. If you’re wondering how often you should brush your teeth with braces, you should generally be doing this after every meal. At the very least you should be brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
  • Floss once a day with waxed flossed. Unwaxed floss is less slippery and can get stuck in your braces causing serious issues. To floss with braces, take the floss and pull it underneath the main wire of the braces then floss two teeth (upper and lower). Remove the floss and repeat with each pair of teeth until you’ve done your whole mouth. Even your back teeth (yes, I know it’s hard).
  • You should strongly consider getting a brush for you braces like a Proxabrush. This is because they can reach areas underneath the wires that normal brushing and flossing just can’t reach.
  • Use mouthwash after meals, especially at lunchtime if you’re not cleaning your teeth in the middle of the day. This helps kill hard to reach bacteria that can lead to a buildup of
  • Develop good habits. If you’re struggling to keep up with diligent oral hygiene practices, it can be good to schedule it or set alarms on your phone to remind you. The key to healthy teeth is good habits, especially when you have braces.

There are plenty of new challenges presented once you get braces. One issue people often have is finding their gums bleeding after getting braces on. This can be quite scary, especially when you’ve paid for such a costly procedure and it feels like things are getting worse. Bleeding gums happen for a number of reasons, and is actually quite common. It could be a sign of:

  • Gum infection. Your gums may be becoming infected. This can be because areas in your mouth are harder to reach after your braces have been installed, but could be a result of a buildup of negligence. Ensure you’re cleaning your teeth properly and infection can start to subside.
  • Your braces irritating your gums. This is less common and usually happens a day or two after braces are put on. If you’re experiencing bleeding gums directly after your braces were installed, you should pay a visit to your dentist who can address the problem.
  • You’re on medication that causes your blood to thin. If you have a strict dental hygiene regime and still find your gums bleeding, there’s a chance it’s a result of blood thinning medication such as some heart medications and certain painkillers. These can all cause your blood to thin and result in slight bleeding from your gums. This is not an immediate issue, but you should bring it up with your doctor or dentist during your next visit.

Learning how to maintain a healthy smile while wearing braces can be difficult, and you may find yourself spending more money on cleaning apparatuses and dentist visits to ensure your mouth is as healthy as possible. This is definitely all worth it, as not taking good care of your teeth now can lead to costly and painful complications in the future.