Wellness Tips | 12 January, 2021

Brace yourself! It’s all about oral hygiene

Proper oral care isn't just about making your teeth look pretty. Braces are going to make your teeth look great once they are removed, and that will be a day to celebrate. However, whilst you still have them, what can you do to ensure your braces help and not hinder?

Common dental problems like gingivitis, tartar, and demineralisation can be more difficult to keep at bay if you have braces. If left untreated they can also turn into more serious oral health issues, and even worse, they can prolong your time in braces. In severe cases of gum disease or other oral health problems, the orthodontist may even have to remove your braces, wait for your gums and mouth to heal, and then reapply them. So of course, you don’t want that!

Gingivitis is when the tissues around the teeth become inflamed. Sufferers may get bleeding, tenderness, redness, or swelling. It can also increase the time that wears spend in braces. Gingivitis is reversible, but don't ignore it! Anyone can develop gingivitis, so clean around the gum line and be especially vigilant. Be sure to brush after every meal and floss at least once a day.

Sensitivity can occur when the underlying layer of your teeth becomes exposed as a result of receding gum tissue. Braces are more difficult to clean around, and poor oral care can lead to an irritated or receding gum line. To help prevent sensitivity, brush thoroughly after every meal and floss at least once a day. It is normal for teeth to be temporarily sensitive after an adjustment, but let your orthodontist know if you have chronically sensitive teeth.

Plaque is produced from the combination of saliva and food particles. It combines with sugars to form an acid that is dangerous to teeth and gums, and it causes tooth decay, gum disease, tartar, and other dental problems. The challenges of cleaning around braces mean that braces wearers must be especially vigilant. Plaque begins forming only 4 to 12 hours after brushing, which is why it's so important to brush at least twice a day and don’t forget to floss daily!

As braces contain so many small spaces to trap food, it’s important to brush immediately after every meal or snack, or to at least vigorously rinse your teeth with water or mouthwash if you absolutely can't brush. Bad breath-causing odours and bacteria can also cling to removable orthodontics (like a retainer or clear aligners) so be sure to remove them before eating, even if you're only eating a small amount. If you follow these preventative tips whilst wearing braces, imagine how amazing your teeth will look and feel once the braces are removed!

Book a consultation with a Maven specialist orthodontist if you are experiencing any of these issues, or to find out more about caring for your braces.