If you are a young adult around the age of 12 or 13 and have crooked teeth, then your pediatric dentist may start making arrangements for you to receive braces. You may not be looking forward to this, but braces are often necessary to ensure the health and appearance of your teeth. After the braces are set on your teeth, you are probably going to feel some soreness for the two or more years that the braces need to stay on. When your teeth, jaw, and gums are painful, you may want to stop brushing and flossing for a while. This is a very bad idea though. If you want to know why, then read on.
Usually when your dentist prepares your teeth for orthodontic treatments, he or she will make sure that the teeth are cleaned as thoroughly as possible. During the cleaning, stainless steel dental picks, tartar scrapers, ultrasonic water sprayers, and electronic toothbrushes are used to remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth. As a young adult, your teeth will be quite close to a pure ivory color after the cleaning is completed.
Your orthodontist will use orthodontic adhesive to glue the metal brackets in place. Afterwards, buccal tubes, bands, arch-wires, and ligating modules or o-rings are then secured in place. Molar brackets, hooks, springs, power threads, and orthodontic wire may then be placed in your mouth as well. All of these elements can really crowd your teeth and make it difficult to brush. You may then brush your teeth in a lazy manner and hope that food and plaque is removed, but this is not a good idea.
Food and plaque can easily stick to the dental enamel and the stainless steel components that make up your braces. Tarter will quickly harden around the edges of the steel brackets. If you are really lax about oral care, then tartar will continue to build and stains may become seated in the small cracks and holes that line the enamel. When your braces are removed after the dental straightening is over, then you may see white spots in the middle of the teeth surrounded by yellow or off-white stains. This type of staining is quite apparent.
Some stains may be removed through regular cleanings, but some discoloration is likely to remain. This can put a damper on the aesthetic value of your newly straightened teeth, so make sure to brush and floss regularly and also use floss threaders, small pipe-cleaner tools, and dental picks to help keep your teeth clean.
Bad breath is considered a problem for anyone who does not brush their teeth properly, but this an issue that is especially troublesome to people who wear braces for a number of reasons. If you have braces, then you are more likely to form gingivitis as well as mild infections of the tongue and cheeks. Oral damage from metal wires, brackets, and other sharp pieces in the mouth can easily cut the tissues. Unfortunately, there may be as many as 100,000 bacteria on each of your teeth at any given time. These bacteria can easily work their way into the cuts in your mouth. Pus and damaged tissues may build and release foul odors.
Not only can the damaged tissues smell, but you will also have bad breath if you leave food on the teeth and the metal parts of your braces. Bacteria feed on these foods and they then release sulfur smelling gasses. The gasses mix with the other foul odors emanating from your mouth to create an especially bad smell. Brushing and flossing will not only get rid of the food odors, but it will eliminate some of the bacteria that can cause potential infections and inflammatory conditions too. Of course, you should use an alcohol-based mouthwash after brushing to make sure you are doing your best to keep bacteria at bay.