Braces are temporary, a smile is for life


  Posted by: Dental Design      11th April 2023

Orthodontic treatment is now a popular option for patients of various ages. New additions to the orthodontic treatment selection include the popular removeable clear aligners, however, many patients still undergo a fixed orthodontic treatment, being the most appropriate course of action for their situation.

Fixed braces no longer carry such a heavy stigma of being ‘unappealing’ or giving one an ‘immature’ appearance, thanks to an insurgence of celebrities sporting them and a natural shift in consumer opinion. After all, the past two years gave the nation plenty of time to scrutinise their smiles, with many opting to undergo orthodontic treatment to perfect their teeth. Fixed braces are a fantastic option that has stood the test of time – however, a few issues still remain. Oral health may be compromised during the treatment journey, and so patients must be sufficiently equipped to protect their oral cavity during this time.

Why the change of heart?

Orthodontics has seen a surge in popularity and, anecdotally, this may be in part due to the nation becoming highly image conscious. Visual aesthetics have, throughout history, always been of importance to how one is perceived. However, in the modern day, the rise of social media has meant that we can access a vast range of online content, further exacerbating issues with body image. Misaligned, stained or missing teeth are thought to influence facial attractiveness,[i] and research has suggested that self-orientated motivations for adolescents seeking treatment are primarily aesthetic-driven.[ii] It is unsurprising that dental professionals are seeing patients who wish to improve the appearance of their smile. Patients interested mainly in aesthetics may be unaware that a rigorous oral hygiene routine is imperative during this time.

Protecting the oral cavity

Plaque control becomes more challenging for fixed-orthodontic patients,[iii] and so a thorough oral hygiene regime must be implemented by patients in order to reduce plaque build-up and its subsequent risks. Periodontal complications are thought to be the most common side effect of orthodontic treatment,[iv] with the literature noting that gingivitis is prevalent in the majority of orthodontic patients.[v] Without proper management, patients may be at risk of periodontitis; which, as you know, can result in irreversible tissue damage.v Enamel demineralisation, another common occurrence during orthodontic treatment, can be facilitated by a poor diet.[vi] White spot lesions may present as a result, which are unsightly and may progress to cavitation.v

Patient compliance can be the Achilles’ heel of an otherwise well thought-out treatment pathway. Despite desiring straighter, more aesthetic smiles, some patients may slip into poor habits once the treatment has commenced. Compliance can be influenced by a myriad of factors; the age of the patient, for instance, may impact their ability to maintain a suitable oral hygiene routine at home. Adolescents may not have the same motivation as an older patient, nor the awareness of the importance of their compliance. Similarly, a poor relationship between patient and professional may encourage poor oral hygiene behaviours.v

Combat the issue

Due to the brackets, wires and elastics, fixed solutions are not easy to clean, and some patients may lose the motivation to clean the harder-to-reach areas where plaque accumulation is more favourable. As such, dental professionals should offer guidance and recommend techniques and products to help patients keep their oral cavity clean and healthy. For instance, the use of an electric toothbrush has been suggested as an alternative to manual toothbrushes, with one study finding that higher plaque scores and significantly higher bleeding was exhibited in patients who used a manual toothbrush.[vii]

Following the increased risk of periodontal complications during orthodontic treatment, dental professionals can also recommend a toothpaste specially designed to protect gum health. The Arm & Hammer 100% Natural Gum Protection toothpaste is ideal for patients seeking an effective solution to protect their oral health. The inclusion of baking soda helps to encourage remineralisation, remove plaque and neutralise odour. This solution also includes 1450ppm of fluoride for caries prevention. Patients will experience a gentle clean, deep between the teeth and below the gumline, so recommend to them the Arm & Hammer 100% Natural Gum Protection toothpaste. Plus, the cap, carton and tube are 100% recyclable!

A brighter, more confident smile

During the orthodontic treatment pathway, a thorough oral hygiene regimen is essential to ensure that, post-procedure, patients are not burdened with oral health complications. So, with positive compliance at-home and support from the dental team, patients can enjoy increased confidence, a better quality of life and be able to smile with ease. 

For more information about the carefully formulated Arm & Hammer toothpaste range, please visit or email:  

Arm & Hammer oral healthcare products can now be purchased from Boots, Amazon, Superdrug, ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison’s, Waitrose & Partners and Ocado.

[i] Obwegeser, D., Timofte, R., Mayer, C., Eliades, T., Bornstein, M.M., Schätzle, M.A. and Patcas, R. (2022). Using artificial intelligence to determine the influence of dental aesthetics on facial attractiveness in comparison to other facial modifications. European Journal of Orthodontics, [online] 44(4), pp.445–451. Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2022].

[ii] Prado, L.H., Previato, K., Delgado, R.Z.R., Nelson Filho, P., Bezerra Segato, R.A., Nakane Matsumoto, M.A. and Neuppmann Feres, M.F. (2022). Adolescents’ perception of malocclusion, their motivations, and expectations concerning the orthodontic treatment. Is it all about attractiveness? A qualitative study. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, [online] 161(4), pp.e345–e352. Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2022].

[iii] Kamath, D.G., Nadimpalli, H., Nayak, S.U., Rajendran, V. and Srikant, N. (2022). Comparison of Antiplaque, Anti‐gingivitis Effects of Aloe Vera Mouthwash with Chlorhexidine in Fixed Orthodontic Patients – A Randomized Controlled Trial. International Journal of Dental Hygiene. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2022].

[iv] Singh, G. and Batra, P. (2014). The orthodontic periodontal interface: A narrative review. Journal of the International Clinical Dental Research Organization, [online] 6(2), p.77. Available at:;year=2014;volume=6;issue=2;spage=77;epage=85;aulast=Singh [Accessed 6 Dec. 2022].

[v] Firth, F., Bennani, F., Stacknik, S. and Farella, M. (2019). Orthodontic patient co-operation: a review of the clinician’s role in predicting and improving patient compliance. Australasian Orthodontic Journal, 35(1), pp.5–12. doi:10.21307/aoj-2020-027.

[vi] Salmerón-Valdés, E.N., Lara-Carrillo, E., Medina-Solís, C.E., Robles-Bermeo, N.L., Scougall-Vilchis, R.J., Casanova-Rosado, J.F., Pontigo-Loyola, A.P. and Fernández Barrera, M.Á. (2016). Tooth demineralization and associated factors in patients on fixed orthodontic treatment. Scientific Reports, [online] 6(1), p.36383. Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2022].

[vii] Sivaramakrishnan, G., Alsobaiei, M. and Sridharan, K. (2020). Powered toothbrushes for plaque control in fixed orthodontic patients: a network meta‐analysis. Australian Dental Journal. [online] Available at:[Accessed 6 Dec. 2022].


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