If there’s one body language or facial expression that has the highest positive emotional gesture, it is smiling. Nevertheless, a number of people’s lack of oral hygienemakes them under-confident about their smile, but the truth is: everyone wants to feel confident, while smiling with braces especially. It can almost be stated as a fact that no one looks forward to their biannual rendezvous at the dentist’s, mainly because of the discomfort from poking and scraping they will have to go through.
Oral hygiene, simply put, “is a state of being free from chronic mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral sores, birth defects such as cleft lip and palate, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay and tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that affect the oral cavity,” according to the World Health Organization.
Whether you have braces or not, lack of oral hygiene can lead to expensive, intensive dental procedures that you may find unpleasant. Here are some of the most common outcomes of poor oral health:
Bleeding or painful gums
Gums are tough, pink-colored tissues that cover the bone of the jaw and hold the teeth in place. Healthline describes them as a barrier between the roots of the teeth, nerves, and blood vessels. Bleeding or swollen gums can indicate poor oral hygiene, periodontal or gum disease. Healthline also states that this is a sign of “a significant amount of bacteria in [the] mouth that are causing inflammation in [the] gums.” When the gum tissue is not healthy enough, it is possible to lose a tooth or teeth.
It is equally important to take care of your gums while wearing braces. Although braces themselves do not cause decay, their design and structure make it easy for the food and debris to be left on teeth, resulting in a higher chance of gum problems while wearing braces.
Plaque and tartar build-up
The intake of food causes the bacteria to produce acids in the mouth, leading to the accumulation of plaque – a sticky layer of material containing bacteria – on teeth. Some of the sources of plaque are sugary foods, starches and cereal. If teeth aren’t brushed properly after meals, plaque begins to form and build up on teeth, resulting in tooth decay and gum disease.
Plaque build-up is especially common in individuals with braces, as many people lack motivation to properly and regularly brush their teeth after every meal, leaving food debris stuck in braces and between teeth.
Bad breath is one of the most widespread symptoms of bad oral hygiene. Several factors can contribute to an unpleasant odor in the mouth; common factors being not brushing teeth and cleaning the tongue properly and leaving food particles stuck between the teeth, dry mouth – not drinking enough water to keep the mouth hydrated, and eating foods like garlic and onion.
People with braces experience a stubborn bad breath if teeth are not brushed after every meal, teeth are not flossed regularly using the dentist-recommended floss, usage of mouthwash is ignored and rotting food has been stuck between teeth for days.
Tooth decaying or loss of teeth
Tooth decay, as described by WebMD is “damage that occurs when germs (bacteria) in the mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth,” leading to a hole in the tooth, called a cavity. Tooth decay is caused by poor oral health habits such as not brushing teeth regularly, eating foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates, lack of fluoride, dehydration or not enough saliva, smoking, and chewing tobacco. If tooth decay is left untreated, pain, infection, and tooth loss may occur.
Anyone can experience tooth decaying or loss of teeth due to lack of oral hygiene, but braces wearers can be especially susceptible to it. Reason being, the wires and brackets have many crannies and nooks that allow food and plaque to be trapped, leaving them with an increased risk of tooth decay.
We’ve gathered tips from some of the oral hygiene experts for you. By avoiding unhealthy habits and following the simple routinely practices we have listed, you can overcome poor oral hygiene and avoid its consequences mentioned above. Follow these few tips to get there:
- Brush your teeth regularly and properly to avoid bad breath and plaque build-up
- Floss your teeth regularly, eliminating food particles stuck between braces and teeth
- Clean your tongue
- Use mouthwash alongside brushing and flossing
- Limit sodas, coffee, and alcohol to avoid staining teeth and bad breath
- Consume calcium and other vitamins that are good for the body See your dentist and orthodontist regularly
It is recommended to practice these healthy oral habits regularly to achieve teeth that are clean and free of debris, gums that are pink and do not hurt or bleed while brushing or flossing and an odorless mouth. Crooked and crowded teeth can also make daily oral hygiene difficult. By getting braces to correct this problem, keeping up with good oral health can become dramatically easier. For more information regarding braces, the different types of braces we offer or for a complimentary consultation, visit us at orthodonticexperts.com or call us at (847) 749-4340. Our diverse staff can communicate with you in English, Spanish, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Urdu and Hindi. We can’t wait to hear from you!