Orthodontic devices such as braces can greatly help fix misaligned teeth. However, during the course of brace treatment, there are several oral health issues that may arise from wearing this device. Below are the top 5 common brace problems you may experience.
1. Gingivitis. This occurs when the gum tissues become inflamed due to plaque build-up. Braces make it more challenging to reach food debris with the wirings and brackets attached. Usually, when food debris gets stuck in the gums, it can lead to bacterial accumulation, resulting in gum inflammation.
While gingivitis is treatable, never ignore it. It can prolong the time your child has to spend wearing braces. It is important to clean the gum line regularly if you have braces. Make sure to floss once a day and brush after each meal.
2. Demineralization. Food, particularly sugar, triggers acid production by the bacteria. When food gets stuck in the brackets or wirings, the acid produced erodes phosphate and calcium, leading to white scars or decalcification. These ‘white scars’ appear like tiny white specks that mark the spot where the brackets were attached.
Take note that braces do not directly cause the staining, but those who don’t care well their teeth can have it. To minimize demineralization, cut back on soda and other sugary foods and maintain oral hygiene.
3. Plaque. This is a thin film of bacteria that forms on the tooth surface. Along with sugar, plaque forms an acid that attacks the tooth enamels and gums, leading to gum disease, tooth decay and other problems. Anyone can have plaque, but those who wear braces must double their effort in fighting it. Plaque often starts to develop 4 to 12 hours after brushing – the reason why it is important to brush twice a day.
4. Bad Breath. Also called halitosis, this condition is caused by medical problems, smoking and poor dental hygiene. Bad breath that occurs after having braces is most certainly caused by poor dental hygiene. Because mouth bacteria feed on sugar and food debris, they emit unpleasant odor. In addition, small bits of food that are trapped in between the teeth and in brackets will stink.
Wearing braces doubles the rate of trapped food in your mouth so make a habit of cleaning your teeth immediately after snacking or every meal. If you can’t brush your teeth, always bring a mouthwash to rinse your mouth and prevent bad odor.
5. Tartar. Also called calculus, it develops when plaque hardens on the tooth surface. It turns into a resilient deposit that causes tooth discoloration or stain. Tartar begins to develop after 24 hours. It may form under the gums, along the gum line or around the braces. Prevent tartar by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.