Maintaining proper oral hygiene is a very important part of your orthodontic treatment. You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces and other orthodontic appliances. Food compacts onto the brackets and also, between and around your teeth. This food deposits can only be removed by daily proper and thorough brushing and flossing. If plaque or food deposits remains on the teeth for any significant amount of time, it can leave a permanent white scar or markings on the teeth surfaces. Thorough brushing and flossing after each meal should become part of your daily routine throughout your orthodontic treatment.
Failure to brush and floss as directed can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and permanent markings (de-calcification) on the teeth. Although these problems can occur without orthodontic treatment, the risk is greater to individual wearing braces, and in especially patients with poor oral hygiene. Swollen, inflamed and bleeding gums can usually be prevented by proper and regular brushing and flossing. Food and plaque tend to get trapped in and around the braces. Orthodontic appliances must be free from such debris. You must brush your teeth and gums immediately after eating. Failure to brush and floss as directed can lead to tooth decay, or cavities; gingivitis (inflammation of gums); periodontal (gum) diseases, which may result in the possible loss of supporting bone and/or teeth. Periodontal disease can be caused by accumulation of plaque and debris around the teeth and gums, but there are several unknown causes that can lead to progressive loss of supporting bone and recession of the gums. Should the condition become uncontrollable, orthodontic treatment may have to be discontinued short of completion. Food and plaque accumulation may result in permanent markings on the teeth (de-calcifications) that may need extensive dental treatment by your dentist.
A note about teeth decalcification! De-calcifications are the white soft enamel areas that can become decay and result in permanent tooth damage requiring extensive dental treatments. You may also have pre-existing stains, discoloration, markings, fractured teeth; enamel defects and enamel fracture lines etc. These could also compromise the teeth health and esthetics (appearance). The avoidance of chewing hard and sticky foods will keep bands and brackets from loosening. Reduction of sugar intakes will help minimize decay and gum problems. The permanent markings (de-calcification) on the teeth can be minimized by maintaining good oral hygiene, use of plaque disclosing tablets/rinses to detect plaque thus helping in its removal by proper brushing, regular dental checkups with your family dentist, regular dental cleaning(s) by your family dentist, use of topical application of fluoride by your family dentist, use of fluoride rinses and gels (available by prescription or over-the-counter) and following a proper diet.