International expert, Professor Robin Seymour, has issued a warning that orthodontic treatment, in particular fixed braces, could be risky to children’s dental health. It is estimated that around two hundred thousand young people undergo teeth straightening in England and Wales every year.
Professor Seymour expressed his concerns that braces with fixed brackets and bands attached can make it very difficult for children to brush their teeth. This could then lead to a build-up of plaque and potentially gum disease. He was quoted in the Daily Mail, “While the demand for orthodontic treatments has increased, it needs to be recognised that there are risks associated with such treatments.” He also went on to say that in certain cases, the risks of having a brace could outweigh the benefits, if the patient has existing poor dental hygiene.
The professor also undertook research into effective cleaning methods for people undergoing orthodontic work. His research suggests that there were no extra benefits to using electric tooth brushes, and the interdental brushes, recommended by many dentists, showed no additional benefits in the prevention of plaque. He did however suggest that using alcohol free mouth wash, alongside regular brushing, showed significant removal of debris which could help to maintain good oral health.