Braces and other orthodontic appliances can straighten teeth and create beautiful smiles. But they also encourage plaque accumulation, which can lead to gingival inflammation and, ultimately, halitosis. So, a research team from Turkey set out to quantify braces’ effects on bad breath.
The study group comprised 13 patients with Angle Class I malocclusions receiving fixed orthodontic therapy, while the control group comprised 12 dental students without any orthodontic treatment. The researchers used a Halimeter to detect volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). They also measured plaque index, gingival index, and probing pocket depth.
The subjects in the study group had one visit before orthodontic treatment started and 7 visits during treatment. The control group subjects had 3 visits, once per subsequent month. While all of the subjects brushed at least twice a day, they were asked to refrain from their oral hygiene habits for 12 hours before each assessment.
The study group subjects had significantly higher plaque indices, gingival indices, and probing pocket depths than the control group. They also showed elevated levels of VSCs, beginning with an initial total of 115.92 PPB and finishing at 139.70 PPB after 13 months, with a peak of 152.46 PPB at 7 months. The control group had a mean of 70.50 PPB.
The researchers noted that elevated levels of VSCs are the most common cause of oral malodor. VSC levels correlate with periodontal pocket depth and increase with their number, depth, and bleeding tendency. In turn, fixed orthodontic therapy increases these depths as well as dental plaque accumulation and gingival inflammation.
In conclusion, the researchers felt that oral malodor can be used as an indicator to evaluate the oral health of orthodontic patients. The study, “The Effect of Fixed Appliances on Oral Malodor from Beginning of Treatment Till 1 Year,” was published by BMC Oral Health.