What Happens When You Don’t Take Care of Your Braces

added on: December 19, 2014

Braces are a big commitment and they require a lot of attention and work. The wire, rubber bands, springs and more are magnets for food and plaque. Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash will not only prevent staining, but they will help ward off other maladies.


Gingivitis, a sign of poor oral hygiene, is the first stage of gum disease. When the tissues around the teeth become inflamed, it can cause redness, bleeding, pain, and swelling. Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible when addressed right away. Braces can increase your risk of gingivitis because it can be a challenge cleaning near the gum line. But fear not; you simply need to commit to brushing and flossing more diligently.

Bad Breath

Bad breath can be a common side effect of having braces. Braces create a barrier to the gum line, trap food, and encourage tartar and plaque build-up if proper oral hygiene habits are not formed. Bacteria survive by feeding on leftover food that’s caught in braces or in between teeth. Bacteria are the culprit of odor, and unless you’re brushing, rinsing with mouthwash, and/or flossing, you run the risk of collecting odor-filled bacteria.


It’s normal for your teeth to be sensitive and tender after your braces have been adjusted; however, if they are chronically sensitive or tender, there may be a problem. Teeth sensitivity can occur for many reasons. When the roadway to the nerves becomes exposed, hot and cold foods and beverages, as well as sweet and sour flavors cause discomfort. Brushing and flossing after every meal can help reduce sensitivity and keep the gum line clean of irritating food particles.


Although everyone suffers from plaque build-up, braces, if not properly cared for, increase your risk of build-up. This tacky film of bacteria, albeit colorless, works overtime in the mouth, constantly forming from the mixture of food particles and saliva. Once it comes into contact with sugar, it creates an acid that can cause tooth decay, tartar build-up, gum disease, and more.  Within four to 12 hours, plaque starts to form, so brushing and flossing are key to combating plaque.

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