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Braces and Tooth Care 

Introduction
Good oral health care is more important than ever once you have braces.  Brushing and flossing removes food that can get caught in braces.  Your orthodontist will provide you with an oral health care plan.  Healthy habits ensure healthy teeth and gums by preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

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Symptoms
Plaque is a thin sticky film that constantly forms over your teeth.  Your braces contain angles and spaces that food can easily get stuck in.  The sugars in foods mix with the bacteria in plaque to form destructive toxins.  Plaque helps to hold the toxins against your teeth.  Plaque plays a major role in tooth decay.  Plaque that has hardened on your teeth is called tartar.  Tartar provides plaque with an ideal growing space.  Plaque and tarter build up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

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Diagnosis
You should receive regular dental examinations while you are wearing braces.  If you develop a cavity, your dentist can fill it.  In some cases, your orthodontist may need to remove and reapply your braces for your cavity to be treated. 

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Treatment
You should follow the specific oral health care instructions provided by your orthodontist.  Home treatment involves regular tooth brushing and flossing.  Your orthodontist may provide you with special devices to help you clean your teeth and braces.  It may be easier to insert dental floss with threading loops.  Tiny brushes or special picks can make cleaning around brackets and wires easier and more efficient.  Your orthodontist may recommend prescription toothpaste or mouth rinse that contains larger amounts of fluoride or plaque fighting ingredients.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.