Getting braces as a teenager can be both frightening and exciting. That's why it is important for parents to be there to guide their children through the whole teenager orthodontic care process. If your teenager has just started a course of orthodontics, encourage them to practice excellent oral hygiene morning and night.
If your teenage child tends to skip brushing and flossing, remind them that any — or all — of the following problems could occur in the near future.
1. Plaque Buildup
Plaque affects everyone, not just people with braces. However, plaque is relatively easy to remove when you aren't wearing braces. While wearing braces, however, plaque has plenty of places to hide. Though plaque itself isn't a living thing, the bacterial organisms that proliferate inside it are very much alive. And not removing plaque along with those organisms leads to several other serious issues.
2. Tartar Formation
Although plaque is soft and easy to brush or floss from your teeth, once it hardens into tartar, usually within ten days, a simple brush is no longer sufficient. Whilst your teenager is undergoing orthodontic care, ensure they brush and floss around their braces thoroughly. If the plaque around braces hardens, more issues will follow.
3. Tooth Decay
Both plaque and tartar attract bacterial organisms. These substances also make it easy for bacteria to cling to teeth and gums. And since bacteria release acids after they have feasted on the sugars your teen consumes, tooth decay soon becomes an issue if plaque and tartar build up around braces.
4. Gum Disease
Another area of the mouth that suffers is the sensitive gum tissues that help to hold teeth in place. If the acids that bacteria secrete can damage hard tooth enamel, just imagine what they can do to gum tissue. Once irritated, gum tissue recedes, becomes inflamed and bleeds during brushing. This is early gum disease.
But if the tartar spreads under the gum tissue, then it becomes periodontitis, the more serious form of gum disease, which can cause teeth to fall out if untreated.
Plaque and tartar also stain teeth, especially around the lower canine teeth. And, because food also sticks to braces, if your teenager doesn't brush their teeth while wearing braces, the staining molecules from their food will stain their teeth too.
6. Bad Breath
Bacteria also give off an unpleasant, sulphurous smell, just as most living organisms do when they secrete waste products. The more bacteria in your teenager's mouth, the worse their breath will be. And, because braces also trap food particles, rotting food could become an issue too.
These issues don't have to surface at all while your teen wears braces. As long as they brush and floss their teeth regularly, their teeth, gums and breath should be fine. And, they can enjoy the changes that their orthodontic treatment brings as they progress.