How Braces Affect Tooth Health

Traditional metal braces have been used to straighten countless teeth resulting in countless beautiful smiles. However, there is a downside to braces that many don’t discover until too late. While it is clear that orthodontics make toothbrushing difficult, many don’t realize the effects of incomplete brushing can last decades after the orthodontic treatment has completed.

Since thorough toothbrushing is the best tool for combating plaque build-up, and braces block access to all teeth and interdental surfaces, people with braces should take extra care and employ alternate cleaning methods to maintain good oral health.

When plaque forms on teeth, the bad bacteria that normally lives in the mouth increases. This in turn can inflame the gums. The gums are sensitive and can also recede from teeth moving as part of the realignment process. Since braces put stress on the bone, (and the gums by extension), inflammation can occur which can lead to gum recession. In fact, according to the European Journal of Dentistry, about 400,000 Americans develop gum recession and gum disease from braces every year.

While braces can be the root cause of gum and teeth problems, this is something that can be overcome by taking specific care to manage the oral health while teeth are being treated with hardware. Also, while the primary reason for orthodontia is really cosmetic, braces often fix teeth crowding and ultimately result in better oral hygiene.

Family history matters too. Some people are lucky to inherit thick gum tissue, yet others inherit thin gum tissue and have a much higher risk of recession. Gum disease and recession depends on a patient’s genetics and anatomy. Braces may spark or accelerate these genetic predispositions.

One of the best ways to keep teeth healthy during the realignment process is to have additional dental cleanings at our dentist office here in Mesa. These cleanings allow the dental team to closely monitor any potential problems and provide cleaning of those hard-to-reach places. Give us a call to schedule your next appointment.

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