Your general dentist has probably told you that in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you will need to brush and floss twice a day in addition to having professional cleanings twice a year. When you have orthodontic braces applied to your teeth, this routine doesn't change, but may require a little more effort.
When you have braces, your teeth and gums may be more vulnerable to problems like gingivitis, plaque buildup and enamel erosion. The main reason for this is that food often gets caught between brackets and wires. To deal with these issues, it may be necessary to brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth out after every meal. You will also need to floss your teeth at least two times a day. Individuals with traditional metal braces will need to use a special orthodontic flosser.
Taking extra care of your teeth while you have orthodontic braces is especially important because untreated ailments can become much more serious problems. Depending on their severity, certain dental conditions could prolong your treatment. It's not unheard of for a patient with advanced gum disease to need to have their braces removed so that the mouth has a chance to heal without obstruction.
Braces patients also need to be careful to avoid eating hard, sticky or chewy foods. These items can be hard on your braces and teeth and can result in damage.