It is true that braces and clear aligners can treat an array of dental issues and provide us with amazing results. They can straighten crooked teeth, close gappy teeth, correct many bite dysfunctions, and improve our overall quality of life. That is not to say that obtaining braces and seeing your treatment through does not come without responsibility. In many cases, our oral health is more at risk whilst undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Braces and Clear Aligners: Common Issues Around Oral Health
To make sure that you get the most out of your brace’s treatment, it is important to keep up good oral hygiene, otherwise, the time, money, and hard work spent on getting your perfect smile, could be wasted. There are many issues that can arise from not looking after your teeth whilst wearing braces, including:
Braces increase your risk of acquiring gum disease, which is caused by the accumulation of bacteria along the gum line. Wearing fixed braces makes it difficult to properly clean along the gum line, resulting in swelling, redness, and bleeding from the trapped bacteria. If left untreated, it can cause gums to recede and lead to severe inflammation, bone erosion, tooth decay, and cavities.
Brackets and wires in the mouth can attract and harbour extra bacteria and other harmful organisms, which if not cleaned regularly and with proper equipment, can result in a hole forming in the tooth, often referred to as dental cavities.
It is easy for food particles to get stuck in the brackets and wires of braces, which increases the risk of oral infections, both of which can lead to bad breath.
Demineralisation is an infection resulting from the build-up of acid in the teeth. Consuming too many acidic foods or if you suffer from acid reflux can cause acid to attack the teeth and lead to discolouration, in the form of white marks. It can also cause tooth sensitivity by eroding the tooth enamel.
It is very easy for teeth to become stained whilst wearing fixed braces. Sometimes caused by diet such as consuming too much coffee and tea or if you are a smoker. It can also occur by not cleaning the teeth properly around the brackets and wires, where food particles can get stuck and likely stain the area. It is quite common to end up with a white trail after removal, where the brace was initially fixed, making the surrounding areas of your teeth look yellow in comparison.
How to Prevent and Maintain Your Oral Health
Although the list above can seem quite daunting, getting braces to correct dental problems is undoubtedly a positive experience. Equipped with the knowledge and understanding of how your braces work and how best to look after them will ensure that you can enjoy the benefits your braces bring in years to come.
Brushing and Flossing
Food particles can easily get trapped in the brackets and wires of fixed braces, increasing the risk of plaque build-up, cavities, and gum disease. To prevent these issues, you should:
- Invest in the proper tools – use a soft-bristle toothbrush and a floss threader or orthodontic floss to clean around your braces effectively.
- Create a brushing habit – brush your teeth and braces after every meal to remove food debris and prevent plaque build-up.
- Incorporate flossing into your routine – flossing is crucial, as it helps clean between teeth and around wires, where a toothbrush may not easily reach.
Keep a Healthy Diet
What you eat can significantly impact your oral health while wearing braces. Certain foods can damage or break your braces, while others may increase the risk of cavities. Some dietary tips we recommend are:
- Avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods such as popcorn, nuts, ice, chewing gum, and sticky sweets and toffees. These can damage your braces or get stuck in them.
- Limit sugary and acidic foods which can contribute to tooth decay and erosion.
Regular Orthodontic Check-Ups
Regular orthodontic check-ups are essential to ensure your braces are working as intended and to address any emerging issues. Your orthodontist will make necessary adjustments and provide guidance on oral care before problems arise.
Pain and Discomfort Relief
Braces can cause temporary discomfort and soreness, especially when first installed and after adjustments. To manage any discomfort, we recommend:
- Orthodontic wax – applying orthodontic wax to the braces’ sharp edges can help alleviate irritation and provide relief to sore spots.
- Over-the-counter pain relief – taking pain relief like ibuprofen or paracetamol can provide instant relief, but it’s important to consult your orthodontist for guidance.
Protection in Sports
If you play sports, consider investing in a mouthguard designed to fit over your braces. This helps protect your mouth from injury and prevents damage to your braces, which could result in lengthier than intended treatment and increased costs.
Chorley Orthodontics: How Our Expert Orthodontist in Chorley can Help
Good oral health extends beyond braces. Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and practicing good overall oral hygiene are crucial for good oral health. Keeping in regular communication with your orthodontist is vital and here at Chorley Orthodontics, we make it as easy and stress-free as possible to undergo treatment and gain the smile of your dreams.
We are a specialist orthodontist in Chorley, with a team of consultants who have undergone extensive training in their field and can help all patients maintain the highest standard of oral health.
We are a dedicated team that provides the best dental care in the area. So, if you are looking for a specialist orthodontist in Chorley, contact us today for a free consultation.