White Marks And Orthodontic Treatments

There are various myths floating around about the issue of braces and white marks. The following overview of the issue should help you understand this apparent complication of orthodontic treatment from a family dentist.

The Causes

There are various causes of white spots on teeth; they include everything from bacteria attack to genetics. However, the white spots associated with orthodontic treatment are triggered by bacteria attacks.

What happens is that oral bacteria feed on the organic matter on your teeth and produce acids. Since your teeth are primarily made of calcium, the acid is able to react with the calcium (and other minerals in your teeth). The reaction, known as decalcification, reduces the amount of mineral on your teeth. The white spots are the decalcified (without calcium minerals) areas of the teeth.

The Contribution From Braces

You can get white spots on your teeth at any time. However, the risk increases if you are wearing braces, and there are a couple of reasons for this. First, it is fairly easy for bits of food to get trapped between your teeth and your aligners. Secondly, brushing and flossing require more care if you are wearing braces because you need to reach all the nooks and crannies created by the braces and the wires.

The above reasons mean that, if you don't take extra care with your oral hygiene, you risk having more bacteria on your teeth during your orthodontic treatment than you usually do. It is this bacteria that will damage your teeth and create the white spots.

The Prevention

Since the white marks are primarily of hygienic origins, maintaining impeccable oral hygiene is the best way to prevent the marks. Below are the specific measures to consider.

Brush and Floss Daily

Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Either brushing alone or flossing alone doesn't have as much effect as doing both per day. You can experiment with different toothbrush and flossing techniques until you find the right one for you.

Give Oral Hygiene Extra Time

Brushing and flossing while wearing braces is a bit hectic since you need to get rid of everything that the wires might have trapped. Give yourself extra time while brushing and flossing so that you can cover all the areas.

Watch What You Eat

Lastly, it also pays to watch what you eat. For example, you should avoid foods that are likely to stick to your teeth, wires, or brackets. Go easy on sugary foods too since they will encourage bacterial growth in the mouth.