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Common Dental Problems with Braces

At Grace & Bowman Orthodontics in Fort Walton Beach and Niceville, we offer the best orthodontic care.

The best care means making patients aware of some problems that can arise with metal braces – and how to avoid them. Here is some information for patients and their parents from Oral-B:

  • Demineralization: This condition occurs when food is left on teeth and comes in contact with bacteria. This creates acid, which robs teeth of calcium and phosphate and leads to decalcification – also known as white scars. These scars appear as chalk-like tiny squares where braces once were. Braces don’t cause the staining, in fact anyone who doesn’t properly care for their teeth can develop white scars. But those with braces are more likely to deal with decalcification because braces often trap food. You can avoid problems by brushing your teeth often – and after meals. Flossing and reducing the amount of soda you drink also helps.
  • Gingivitis: This condition arises when tissue around the teeth becomes inflamed – often the initial sign of gum disease. Symptoms can include bleeding, redness, tenderness and swelling. The good news is gingivitis can be reversed. It also can increase how long children have to wear braces. The challenge of cleaning gum lines when you wear braces means wearers have to be vigilant. Brush after meals, and floss once a day or more!
  • Sensitivity: This can occur if the underlying layer of your teeth gets exposed due to receding gum tissue. Hot or cold food can lead to pain, as can hot or cold drinks. Teeth are typically sensitive for a time after an adjustment. Let the staff at Grace & Bowman know if your teeth are sensitive for long periods of time. Those with braces can be susceptible to sensitivity because braces can be tough to clean around. Poor care of your teeth can lead to an irritated or receding gum line. To decrease sensitivity, once again, brush after every meal and floss!
  • Plaque: This is the colorless film of bacteria that forms in the mouth constantly. The combination of saliva and food particles leads to plaque, which causes numerous problems from decay to gum disease. Again, the challenge of cleaning teeth with braces means that wearers must fight plaque every day. Plaque starts to form four to 12 hours after brushing. That’s why you need to brush at least twice a day and floss as much as possible.
  • Tartar: This forms after plaque is left on teeth and hardens. Tartar begins to develop after 24 hours and can strike the gum line, under the gums, and around braces and other orthodontic devices. Consistent brushing and flossing is needed to combat tartar. Once tartar appears, only a health care professional can remove it.
  • Bad Breath: Known as halitosis, bad breath comes from poor oral hygiene and often from habits including smoking and eating certain foods. Bad breath that comes after you receive braces is caused by poor oral hygiene in just about every case. Because braces have numerous small spaces that can trap food, it’s vital to brush right after meals and snacks. Odors and bacteria that prompt bad breath can cling to retainers and aligners, so remember to take them out before eating.