- May 29, 2016
Are you considering a short-term orthodontic treatment? It’s becoming more and more common for adults to consider getting braces, especially with great solutions available at our Shorewood office.
The increase in adult orthodontic patients at our office has made us think about issuing a review of oral health during orthodontic treatment. It’s easy for patients to get caught up in the hassles that braces present, and when you do it’s easy to neglect proper care. The last thing you want is to take your braces off after treatment to find damaged teeth!
Why Are Braces An Oral Health Risk?
Consider your teeth: there mostly easy to clean, but there are definitely a few tight spots that are hard to keep clear of bacteria. Now add a bunch of brackets to your teeth and think about all those extra hiding places for bacteria.
Braces present an interesting challenge for patients because keeping them clean is much more difficult than regular teeth. If you slack off on oral hygiene while wearing braces – even ones that are just on for six months – you’re setting yourself up for serious trouble.
Cavities take a while to form, so it’s unlikely you’ll end up with serious tooth decay after just six months of orthodontic treatment. What you can end up with is demineralization around your brackets. It’s a common side effect of braces and it’s nearly impossible to notice until it’s too late.
When your brackets are removed you may notice chalky white spots that outline their position. These spots are actually the first stage of tooth decay. When enamel is worn away by plaque acids your teeth first turn a chalky white before going brown and starting to decay. If you aren’t spending time cleaning every bit of your teeth and braces you could end up with these spots!
Demineralization can usually be fixed with a return to good hygiene practices and an extra boost of fluoride, but it’s much easier to never have to deal with it at all. Make sure you’re following these guidelines while wearing braces:
- When you brush you need to be sure you’re getting every side of your brackets. Spend extra time brushing to ensure your teeth are getting the treatment they need.
- If getting between your brackets and teeth is too difficult you can use a sulcabrush or an interdental brush. These small-bristled brushes are ideal for getting into those tight spaces.
- Make sure the toothpaste you’re using while wearing braces has a good amount of fluoride in it. It’s important to keep remineralizing your teeth with fluoride while wearing braces.
Demineralized spots are common in orthodontic patients, but they’re nowhere near as common as gum disease. Let’s face it: flossing isn’t fun in the best of conditions. Add braces and it’s quickly the first oral care practice to vanish.
But those tight spaces between your teeth are incredibly vulnerable – that’s where most gum disease starts. Oral bacteria only needs 24 hours to start irritating your gum tissue, and after that it’s progressively easier for it to get beneath your gumline.
Developing gum disease while wearing braces is a recipe for continual oral health problems after you get them off. Be sure you’re doing the following while wearing braces:
- Floss every day, no exceptions!
- Flossing can be hard in braces, but there are some alternative products you can use. Super Floss, Threaded flossers, and interdental brushes are all great ways to keep your gums clean while wearing braces.
- Watch your braces between meals. Try to carry a small dental pick with you so you can clean your braces out between means and chances to brush.
- Rinse your mouth after eating. This can cut down on bacteria levels and lessen your chances of developing gum disease.
The Most Important Part Of Care
You’ll be seeing us pretty regularly during your orthodontic treatment. We’ll need to monitor your braces and keep an eye on your oral health, so don’t miss those essential visits! Regular exams are a key part of keeping your teeth healthy during orthodontic treatment.
Despite all the doom and gloom of this blog post it’s actually quite easy to keep your teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment. If you need more tips or are considering getting braces don’t hesitate to contact us – we’ll try to make it less scary than this post.