What Happens If You Have Braces and Do Not Brush Your Teeth?

While you might think braces are for teenagers only, there is a growing number of adults interested in straightening their teeth. In fact, over a million adults went to visit an orthodontist about getting braces in the last several years.

Having braces is a great way to straighten your teeth, but what about keeping them clean? What happens if you don’t brush your teeth well when you have braces?

If you’re thinking about getting braces from an orthodontist in Toronto, here’s why you should commit to brushing your teeth well and maintaining good oral hygiene during your treatment.

Tooth Decay

The brackets of braces bond to your teeth to shift them into a straighter position. When you eat, food particles become trapped in your brackets. If the food particles are not removed, you could experience tooth decay due to growing bacteria.

Tooth decay with braces leads to tooth extractions and the breakdown of tooth enamel. When you lose your enamel, your teeth weaken and become more sensitive. The loss of tooth enamel is permanent, so make sure you keep up with your brushing to strengthen your enamel.

If your teeth become too damaged while you have braces on, you may need them removed to save your teeth from irreparable tooth decay.

Tooth Discoloration

Teeth after braces removal should look straight and beautiful. However, if you don’t brush, you could experience the opposite.

The trapped food particles in your teeth eat away at the enamel causing white spots on your teeth. Instead of a smooth and glossy smile, you have spots of white on your teeth or other areas of discoloration. These spots are hard to see when you have braces on, so being aware that they could appear should encourage you to brush as well as possible.


Cavities form due to tooth decay and are a result of poor oral hygiene. To fix a cavity with braces requires a lot of work.

The dentist has to remove the bracket and wire, fix the cavity, and replace the bracket and wires. It’s a long process that likely doesn’t need to happen if you keep up with brushing.

Periodontal Disease

Food particles that sit on your gums for a long time cause plaque build-up. This plaque eventually turns into tartar which is difficult to remove and damages your teeth. Brushing your teeth removes the plaque and lowers the risk of gum diseases like periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is dangerous because bacteria from your gums may enter your bloodstream. This causes other health problems.

Caring For Your Teeth With Braces

To avoid damaged teeth after braces, you’ll need to commit to a good oral hygiene routine. Here are some tips on keeping your teeth healthy while you have braces.

Before brushing your teeth, try rinsing your mouth with water. This will help dislodge any particles that are stuck or hard to reach.

You need to brush every day, but brushing with braces is more challenging. Brush at a 45-degree angle to get all the food particles around the brackets and brush the top and bottoms of brackets as well. Brushing side-to-side misses all the debris trapped in the brackets.

Brushing harder doesn’t mean brushing better. Applying too much pressure may cause more discomfort on top of the discomfort caused by braces. The direction and angle you brush matter more than pressure.

Consider the type of toothbrush you use. Manual toothbrushes are fine, but electric toothbrushes remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes. Look for an electric toothbrush that’s safe for braces.

Brush after every meal. This ensures you’re getting as much bacteria off your teeth as possible. If you’re snacking, rinse your mouth with water when you’re finished eating if you don’t have access to a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Avoiding certain sticky or hard foods like candies or popcorn can save your braces and teeth from damage. Some candy may become stuck in your teeth and seem almost impossible to get out.

Don’t forget to floss! The particles left between your teeth can damage the ones in your brackets. You can use string floss or invest in a water flosser to floss hard-to-reach areas.

If your orthodontist agrees, you can rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash. A fluoride mouthwash removes more trapped food you might have missed with brushing, as well as provide fluoride to strengthen your teeth.

What to Do if You Have A Cavity or Damaged Teeth With Braces

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may get a cavity or have damaged teeth with braces. Keeping your orthodontist appointments is the best way to make sure you’re brushing well and that you don’t have any cavities.

If you do have unexplained pain or you notice cavities in your teeth, you’ll want to contact your orthodontist right away. Ignoring the cavity could lead to bigger problems and damage your teeth even more. Even if fixing a cavity with braces takes a long time, it’s better in the long run for the health of your teeth.

Seeing An Orthodontist in Toronto

Orthodontists agree: that brushing your teeth with braces is one of the most important things you can do to promote healthy teeth during your treatment. Never underestimate the responsibility you have in keeping your teeth clean and healthy with braces. You’ll be happy you did.

Do you want to speak to an orthodontist in Toronto about getting braces? Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.