What Are White Spots?
“White spots” are one of the most common problems associated with wearing braces, but they are not actually caused by the braces themselves. White spots are decalcification or demineralization of the tooth and are caused by the acid-producing bacteria found in plaque. These areas of decalcification can develop into cavities.
White spots develop slowly over time and are usually most noticeable when braces are removed. The most common areas of decalcification are around where the brackets once were and along the gum line. White spots are more common in individuals who wear braces but occur in non-brace wearers as well. Once the damage has been done, the white spot is permanent, even if it doesn’t develop into a cavity.
How Do White Spots Form?
White spots develop when the teeth are not cared for properly. Food left on teeth and the bacteria in the mouth develop into plaque and together create acid. This acid robs teeth of calcium and phosphate and leaves a white area or “scar”. Braces simply provide places for food to become trapped, but with proper oral care you can avoid white spots.
What Can I Do?
Preventing white spots is not an impossible task. Brush teeth for two minutes after every meal and snack. When brushing, pay special attention to the areas of gum above and below the front teeth and around the brackets. Floss daily, using a floss threader and dental floss, or similar products found in the same store aisle. Rinse daily with a fluoride rinse (regular use of a fluoride rinse can even reverse the early stages of cavities). Avoid food and drinks that are high in sugar and/or acid, both of which add fuel to the demineralization process.
Be sure to see your general dentist at least every six months. Your general dentist and hygienist can see areas of your teeth that need attention, remove tartar and plaque build-up, and look for the early signs of decay. They can diagnose and treat potential problems before they require restorative work.
Fry Orthodontics is committed to seeing you through to a beautiful smile! If you have any questions about how best to care for your teeth during treatment, please do not hesitate to call or ask us during one of your visits!