- Demineralization is a serious condition. It happens when food left on teeth meets bacteria, creating acid. This acid depletes calcium and phosphate, causing “white scars” that look like chalky little white squares that outline the area where braces once were.
- Gingivitis occurs when the gum tissue around the teeth becomes inflamed and it’s the first stage of gum disease. Patients who suffer from this condition may experience bleeding, tenderness, redness, or swelling. Gingivitis is reversible, but don’t ignore it!
- Anyone can develop gingivitis, but the challenge of cleaning with braces means that patients should be especially thorough. To help prevent gingivitis, be sure to brush after every meal and floss at least once a day.
- Sensitivity can occur if the underlying layer of your teeth becomes exposed because of receding gum tissue. The roots of your teeth, which are not covered by protective hard enamel, contain thousands of tiny tubes and, if exposed, these tubes allow stimuli – such as hot or cold food – to stimulate the nerve in your tooth, causing the pain.
- Anyone can suffer from sensitivity, but braces wearers can be especially susceptible to it. This is because 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.
- Plaque is bacteria that constantly forms in the mouth and is made from combining saliva and food particles. Plaque mixes with food to form an acid that is dangerous to teeth and gums, and it causes tooth decay, gum disease, tartar, and other dental problems.
- Tartar is formed when plaque remains on the tooth surface and hardens. It’s a crusty deposit that can trap stains on teeth and cause discoloration. Tartar can start to develop after only 24 hours and can make it more difficult to remove newly formed plaque.
- Bad breath is caused by lack of hygiene, medical problems, or habits such as smoking or even from eating certain foods. However, when it develops only after getting braces is usually caused by poor oral hygiene.
- Because braces contain so many small spaces to trap food, bad breath-causing odors 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 snack.