5 Ways to Prevent Gum Disease with Braces


​Many people may not know that braces, while straightening teeth and providing other oral benefits, could potentially lead to gum disease. The next question would be: How can I prevent gum disease while wearing braces?

Dr. Alexandra George, DDS, weighs in.

“Patients might have read a post on Facebook on how their friend or relative got gum disease while wearing braces,” she says. “I wonder if they received adequate instructions from their dentist on how to properly care for their teeth while wearing braces. And, if they did receive that info, if they administered those oral tips on their teeth.”

Sure, it might be a hassle trying to brush teeth and floss while wearing braces. But, many who wear braces allow this minor inconvenience to have a major impact on the health of their mouth, leading the gum disease and other oral health issues.

The Risk With Braces

Of course, a patient might be wondering what other risks could be associated with braces. In the process of aligning their teeth along that metal wire, the gums may start to recede because of the stress placed on the teeth. Granted, many dentists disagree on how braces can be a “miracle cure” for a number of oral health issues and that braces can simply be a benefit in improving the aesthetic appearance of a patient.

However, by following the proper procedures recommended by the dentist, patients can ensure that gum disease doesn’t threaten their oral health.

Oral Care With Braces

Patients should avoid getting braces until their teeth are fully developed. This is due to new teeth coming in, or the infamous wisdom teeth, that could cause one’s mouth to become crooked once more.

Also, while wearing those braces, one should make sure to follow these recommendations recommended by dentists like George:

  1. Make sure to carefully floss in a gentle sawing motion. Weave the floss between the teeth above the main wire.
  2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush from top to bottom and then up, ensuring the brush’s bristles have adequately cleaned the surface of the tooth.
  3. Following the soft-brush treatment, use a prescribed toothbrush, such as a “Christmas tree” brush, to ensure that all the food particles have been removed. A proxabrush has a thin wire and bristles sprouting out from its center, which patients should feed through the spaces between the teeth. This brushes the sides of the teeth while forcing out debris.
  4. Changing out brushes and floss that have lost their integrity is also important to maintaining healthy teeth with braces. Those damaged bristles or floss that is breaking apart will not properly clean the teeth. Tossing out those overly used products will ensure adequate oral care.
  5. Certain foods should be avoided while wearing braces, such as hard candies, gum or popcorn. Basically, anything that is hard to chew or could stick to one’s teeth could cause a risk to the integrity of the braces.
Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on March 9th, 2020