Braces are a great way to straighten your teeth, but they can be hard to clean, and if you're not vigilant about brushing and flossing, you could develop complications like periodontitis. Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease that can develop in response to poor oral hygiene habits. Here are three things braces wearers need to know about periodontitis.
How do braces contribute to periodontitis?
Braces don't cause periodontitis, but they can play a role in its development. Your brackets and wires make it harder for you to clean your teeth, and this puts you at risk of periodontitis. Food and plaque can accumulate around your brackets, and without thorough tooth brushing, it will remain there. The wires that connect your brackets also get in the way of floss, so you may not bother flossing as often as you did before you got braces, if you do it at all.
When plaque remains on your teeth, it irritates your gum tissue. The bacteria within the plaque can then lead to a gum infection. Left untreated, the infection will spread from your gum tissue to the structures beneath your teeth, like your ligaments and bones, resulting in periodontitis.
What are the signs of periodontitis?
Periodontitis causes a lot of unpleasant gum symptoms. Your gums will be swollen and sore, and may be either bright red or purple. Another symptom of periodontitis is that your gums pull away from your teeth, which makes your teeth look longer and creates pockets between your teeth and gums.
Even worse, periodontitis can make your tooth feel loose, and in severe cases, you can lose your teeth. Periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, and it would be a shame to lose the teeth that you have perfected with orthodontic treatments. Fortunately, periodontitis is preventable, so as long as you're careful, you won't need to worry about these unpleasant symptoms.
How can you prevent periodontitis?
The best way to prevent periodontitis is to clean your teeth carefully. You need to brush your teeth twice a day, taking care to brush around all sides of your brackets. You also need to floss once a day, even though your wires make it challenging. Your orthodontist can recommend alternative flossing methods that may be easier for you, like using floss threaders or interdental brushes. No matter what method you choose, be sure to be consistent and do it every day.
If you have braces, you may be at risk of developing periodontitis. Talk to an orthodontist, such as Willow West Dental Office Braces, about ways to effectively clean your teeth despite your brackets and wires.