Everyone needs to maintain good oral hygiene, but this is even more crucial if you wear orthodontic braces. While these dental appliances are the most effective way to straighten your teeth, they can make your daily oral care routine a little more difficult.
What If You Don’t Follow a Proper Oral Hygiene Routine?
If you don’t pay special attention to your teeth and gums while wearing braces, you could face oral health issues such as:
- Demineralization– the loss of minerals such as calcium and phosphate from teeth. This occurs due to acid created by bacterial action on food particles, and may cause sensitivity and “white scars” around braces.
- Gingivitis– an early form of gum disease caused by inflammation of gum tissue. It may cause tenderness, redness, bleeding or swelling in your gums, and can turn into serious periodontal disease if left untreated.
- Sensitivity– caused by exposure of the tooth’s underlying pulp layer due to receding gum tissue. It leads to pain and discomfort while eating cold or hot foods, sweet drinks and even cold air hitting your teeth.
- Plaque– a sticky and colorless film of bacteria over your teeth. This bacteria feeds on food particles to create acids that can damage teeth and gums, leading to tooth decay, gum disease and more.
- Tartar– formed by the hardening of plaque along the tooth surface and gum line. It also accumulates around orthodontic appliances such as braces, and can only be removed by a dental hygienist or dentist.
- Halitosis– or bad breath caused by bacterial growth in your mouth. This is usually the result of poor oral hygiene, sticky or sweet foods, medical problems and lifestyle habits such as smoking.
None of these issues are specific to brace-wearers alone, but the risk is higher since it’s more difficult to clean around teeth while wearing braces.
Tips for Maintaining Oral Hygiene with Braces
It’s important to follow these tips if you wear braces:
- Regular Brushing– Braces can trap food in and around them, encouraging bacterial growth, so it’s essential to brush your teeth after every meal. Use an interproximal brush that’s designed to reach into the spaces between your teeth and braces, as well as be gentler on your gums than a regular toothbrush.
- Flossing– Make sure you floss at least once daily to remove any food particles stuck in your teeth or around them. It can be trickier to floss when you wear braces, but it’s an effective way to discourage the growth of bacteria. A fluoridated mouthwash can also help you prevent bad breath and bacterial growth.
- Healthy Diet– Good nutrition is important for oral health, but you need to be even more careful about what you eat while wearing braces. Hard or sticky foods can get stuck in your braces, break the wires or loosen the brackets, while acidic or sugary foods encourage bacterial growth and raise the risk of tooth decay.
- Professional Care– A regular dental visit allows your orthodontist to check on the condition of the braces, make any adjustments necessary and ensure that potential dental problems are nipped in the bud. You can’t afford to skip it, even after your braces come off!
If you spend a few extra minutes on oral care and hygiene, and keep up with dental appointments while wearing braces, the results will be worth it. At All About Smiles, we can help you select the right orthodontic treatment as well as maintaining oral hygiene while your braces do their work. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!