When braces come off, patients can’t wait to see their straight, beautiful teeth. If the removal of brackets and wires unveils white spots, patients are a lot less happy with the results. Enamel decalcification strikes many orthodontic patients, but it doesn’t have to happen to you or your kids. Here’s why those white spots form, and how you can keep them off your own teeth.
White Spots on Enamel Post-Orthodontic Treatment
Bacteria is always present in your mouth, but some types are better than others. Certain strains are likely to form dental plaque, a sticky, thin film that clings to your teeth. When you eat sugary or starchy foods, the sugars within feed the plaque. The bacteria reproduce and give off acids after consuming sugar, and those acids erode the teeth beneath. As the acid dissolves the enamel, a white patch forms due to decalcification. If the process continues, a cavity will form.
These white spots commonly form during braces because patients (especially children) struggle to reach around brackets and wires, and their cleaning doesn’t remove plaque from every surface of their teeth. The white spots are less noticeable with braces on your teeth, so they can sneak up on you and be revealed at the end of treatment.
How to Prevent Discolored Teeth
It’s as simple as brushing your teeth. Be thorough, be careful, and be sure to reach all tooth surfaces and below wires. Ask for special brushes if your regular toothbrush isn’t getting the job done. Plaque tends to accumulate between arch wires and gums, and underneath wires. Be sure to take a look at your teeth and feel them with your tongue after brushing, to see and feel that all food and plaque have been removed (plaque feels like a fuzzy film).
Your orthodontist will notice if white spots are forming, and will warn you that your oral hygiene isn’t getting the job done. Listen to your provider and take heed – and try using fluoride toothpaste to help remineralize your enamel. You don’t have to end braces with a spotty smile!
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