September 6, 2023
Braces are the first step to achieving a stunning smile. In many cases, they also help with other problems, like bad bites and severe misalignment. Braces are the most popular orthodontic treatment for misaligned teeth, with as many as four million people in the US who wear them.
Braces come with a few obstacles, like pain after adjustments and food getting stuck in the wire. However, there’s one more crucial challenge, which is dental hygiene. Proper hygiene is essential to a healthy mouth and a successful treatment.
This guide uncovers eleven examples of bad oral hygiene with braces. Read on to learn how to avoid them to maintain a healthy smile.
1. Inflamed Gums
Inflamed gums are one of the first signs of gingivitis. If left alone, gingivitis could damage the tissue around your teeth.
In the worst cases, it can lead to irreversible damage. This usually happens when the patient doesn’t clean well enough along the gum line.
2. Bad Breath
Bad breath is a sign that you may not be brushing or flossing regularly. As a result, you may get bad breath because of food particles stuck in your mouth. These particles can decay and encourage the growth of bacteria.
The smell may persist even after you brush your teeth. Your mouth may also taste bad, in addition to the foul odor.
3. Bleeding Gums
Healthy gums should never bleed, especially when you’re brushing your teeth. Bleeding gums could indicate that a case of gingivitis is getting worse.
However, it could also mean that you’re brushing too hard. A common misconception is that brushing harder means that you’re cleaning better. In truth, you’re only aggravating and hurting your gums.
4. Skipping the Floss
Floss enables us to clean the parts of our teeth that we can’t reach with only a toothbrush. This step is even more vital if you wear braces. Food debris will always get stuck behind brackets and in the hard-to-reach corners of your mouth.
If you don’t floss, the food particles will welcome bacteria. This can result in tooth decay and gingivitis.
5. Neglecting Mouthwash
Mouthwash can be a great tool for maintaining your braces and a healthy mouth. It is 100% safe on braces and won’t damage or corrode your brackets in any way. Using an antibacterial mouthwash adds an extra layer of protection for your mouth and also helps freshen up your breath!
6. Inconsistent Brushing
Regular brushing goes a long way in preventing cavities and other oral health issues. Unfortunately, it can be hard to remember to do so if you’re always on the go. By the time you get home, you may be too tired to think of anything except getting into bed.
If you have a kid, it can be even more challenging to ensure they brush at least twice a day. This results in tooth decay that would have been preventable with daily brushing.
Tooth sensitivity, whether to temperature or certain foods, is a huge red flag. Sensitivity may mean that your tooth is losing its enamel. The enamel is a protective layer that covers the sensitive nerves in the tooth.
Our enamel wears down with age, but it could happen earlier due to poor oral hygiene. Sensitivity could be a sign of gum disease or a cracked tooth exposing the dentin.
8. Pain While Chewing
Pain while chewing is a sign that you may have a large cavity. This often comes with sensitivity to sugary foods and soda. It could also be a sign of periodontal disease or gum recession.
9. Dark or Light Spots
Dark or light spots on the surface of a tooth mean a decay has reached the inside of a tooth. By this time, the decay will have turned into an infection. It may also come with swelling and bad breath.
10. Skipping Appointments
If you have braces, you have to see your dentist every six weeks for adjustments. Your dentist may also use this time to conduct a professional cleaning.
They will remove plaque and buildup along the gum line and around the brackets. Skipping an appointment could put your health and treatment at risk.
11. Ignoring Pain
It’s not uncommon to feel discomfort or pain when you first get braces and get them adjusted. Your mouth might feel sore, and you’ll find it difficult to bite. This usually goes away after a few days as you get used to your braces.
However, if you have persistent pain of any kind, it’s best to consult your dentist. Ignoring such issues can result in more severe complications.
Practicing Good Oral Hygiene With Braces
Maintaining your oral health is possible even if you have braces. It’s a little more challenging, but all you need is some discipline and good dental habits.
Regular brushing and flossing is paramount if you want a healthy mouth. With braces, you need to be more precise and practice more care when brushing your teeth. It may also help to invest in the proper tools.
Consider upgrading an electric toothbrush or getting interdental brushes. Interdental brushes are tiny brushes that help you clean between brackets.
Flossing can feel next to impossible with braces, but that doesn’t mean you can skip it. Using a floss threader can make this step a little more manageable. Always be gentle, as using too much pressure can irritate your gums.
Rinsing is a good practice when caring for your braces. It will help you loosen up debris trapped in your braces. When you’re done brushing, use an antiseptic mouthwash.
Of course, you should never neglect your monthly visits. Your dentist wants you to be in excellent health, but they can’t do much if you refuse to cooperate.
Examples of Bad Oral Hygiene With Braces
Tooth sensitivity, bad breath, and swollen gums are only a few signs of bad oral hygiene with braces. Getting braces is a great solution to a better smile, but it’s also a commitment. Maintaining proper oral hygiene will help you get the most out of your treatment.
Are you looking into getting braces? Central Virginia Orthodontics can help you achieve the smile of your dreams and maintain peak oral health. Schedule a free consultation today to get a personalized treatment plan.