Braces and Oral Hygiene: Keeping it Clean

Cleaning your Teeth with Braces

The importance of dental hygiene for those who are wearing braces cannot be stressed enough (and at Orthodontic Associates we have stressed it). With more nooks and crannies to call home, food particles, bacteria and plaque can quickly accumulate around your orthodontic appliances and braces.

Here are some of the potential downsides to not taking proper care of your teeth while you are wearing braces.


This is early onset of gum disease. Caused by plaque (a concoction of bacteria, the acid it causes, carbohydrates and saliva), it can go undetected, as there is little associated pain. Red, swollen gums that bleed easily are signs that you might have gingivitis. The good news is that this early stage is reversible by regular brushing and flossing.


As gingivitis advances and the plaque sits beneath the gum line, it develops into the next stage of gum disease—periodontitis. The gums, which support the tooth, will start to shrink as the bone damage progresses. This is more difficult to reverse as the damage has already set into the bone and gums making it a chronic problem that has to be constantly monitored. Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.


Also known as calculus, this is the result of calcium and phosphate crystals binding together and then to the tooth surface and plaque. This crusty substance, which can cause permanent discoloration, keeps the bacteria cycle going and has to be removed by a professional.


These are the white spots that sometimes occur on teeth around the brackets of your braces. The damage ordinarily is from plaque around the brackets and is the result of acid attacking the enamel, specifically the hard minerals, leaving tiny holes on the tooth surface. Regular, proper brushing and cleaning around the brackets can minimize the potential white spots.

Although a little more energy intensive, a little extra effort in keeping your teeth and braces clean will go a long way to ensuring that your experience with and after braces is a positive one.

For some tips on taking the best possible care of your teeth, we have some additional information on our oral hygiene page that helps with some of alternative products to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

At Orthodontic Associates, your smile is our top priority! Our doctors understand the importance of your straight, beautiful smile. It is why we offer state-of-the-art appliances and revolutionary technology coupled with outstanding, convenient and friendly services at nine locations around Baltimore.


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