Maintaining good oral hygiene is important for everyone, but when you are having orthodontic treatment, it is even more critical.
Braces do not cause demineralisation, decay, gum disease or bad breath, but they can harbor food and plaque and make it harder to brush and floss.
There are many types of bacteria that naturally exist in the mouth and in the food that we eat. Bacteria combines with proteins in saliva and creates a sticky film around the teeth and gum line called ‘plaque’, that subsequently allows more and more types of bacteria to attach.
The bacteria have certain properties that allow them to produce acid, which can damage the tooth’s outer layer of enamel and underlying layer of dentine, as well as irritate the gums. If nothing disrupts the growth and reproduction of the bacteria (i.e. brushing and flossing), it can lead to a variety of issues including white spot lesions, tooth decay and gum disease.
Some early warning signs to look out for are:
- White or yellow, creamy/sticky/furry film around your teeth and gum line
- Dull/matte white spots on your teeth (especially around the brackets and gum line)
- Yellow, brown or orange spots
- Red, puffy, enlarged, bleeding gums
Over time, if the plaque is not removed, it can also harden into a calcified, grainy material called ‘calculus’ or ‘tartar’. It is then unable to be brushed or flossed away and will need to be removed by a dental professional. The formation of calculus can also prevent tooth movement.
At Sable and Pepicelli Orthodontists we not only want to help you achieve the most beautiful smile possible, but we also care about the health and well-being of your teeth and gums! At the beginning of treatment, we will give you very precise instructions on how to maintain impeccable oral hygiene and we will monitor this at each appointment. It is extremely important to follow our advice to avoid increased treatment time, or even worse, having to take your braces off before treatment is complete!
Can you spot the plaque?
By Angela Liu- Orthodontic Therapist