Orthodontic treatments, like braces, can transform your smile, bringing you the confidence that comes with a straighter smile. White spots braces or orthodontic decalcification, commonly known as white spot lesions on teeth (WSLs), is an issue that many people grapple with. Despite the popularity of braces in achieving a straighter smile, they do come with their fair share of risks.
Understanding the basics of orthodontic treatment and how to prevent white spots on teeth is crucial for ensuring a healthy, attractive smile. But do braces cause these white lesions?
What Are Orthodontic Braces?
Orthodontic braces are devices used in orthodontics that align and straighten teeth to improve dental health and your smile. They come in several forms, such as traditional metal braces, ceramic braces or invisible aligners. Orthodontic braces are crucial not only for aesthetic purposes, but they also assist in correcting bite issues leading to jaw problems.
Braces are often used with other orthodontic appliances to widen the palate or jaws or shape the teeth and jaws. Both children and adults can use them, although they’re more common in teenagers. Orthodontic treatment involves close monitoring by an orthodontist to ensure the teeth are moving into their correct positions.
Can Orthodontic Braces Cause White Spots on Teeth?
Yes, orthodontic braces can cause white spots on teeth, but this is not due to the braces themselves. The brackets and wires can create areas that are difficult to clean, allowing plaque to form. If this plaque is not removed, it can lead to demineralization of the tooth enamel, resulting in white spots. This is why maintaining good oral hygiene is essential when wearing braces to prevent such issues.
Why Do We Get White Spots on Teeth After Braces?
Improper Oral Hygiene
Despite braces hardware, maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine is crucial. Failure to brush correctly and floss adequately can lead to the accumulation of dental plaque. These piles of plaque later demineralize, leading to the formation of white lesions.
Exposure to Acidic Foods and Beverages
Consumption of acidic foods, soft drinks and sugary drinks contributes to enamel demineralization. Loss of minerals in the tooth surface, over time, forms visible defects popularly known as white spot decay.
Poor Diet and Lifestyle Choices
Eating a diet high in sugars and starch can increase your chances of tooth decay and, consequently, white spot lesions on teeth. Regular cleanings and changes in dietary habits can be beneficial methods to prevent such undesirable outcomes after braces treatment.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Not drinking enough water can lead to a dry mouth, which tends to support the growth of bacteria. This subsequently results in plaque formation and the development of white spots. Staying adequately hydrated throughout the day is important for overall health, maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing white spots on teeth.
Smoking or using tobacco products can lead to white spots on teeth due to the harmful chemicals these products contain. Therefore, avoiding tobacco use can help prevent the formation of white spots after braces treatment.
Excessive Use of Whitening Products
While teeth whitening products help brighten your smile, overuse can lead to enamel damage and chalky white spots. These products strip your teeth of their natural luster, making them more susceptible to stains and spots. They can also cause gum irritation and sensitivity, which may exacerbate white spots, especially after brace treatment. Therefore, it is essential to use these products sparingly and under guidance from a dental professional.
How to Prevent White Spot Lesions While Wearing Braces?
1. Proper Brushing and Flossing Techniques
Too often, braces are not appropriately cleaned, which can contribute to food debris buildup and plaque deposition. Maintain a regular schedule of brushing with fluoride toothpaste after each meal and floss using floss threaders or an interproximal toothbrush to keep the hard-to-reach areas and interdental spaces clean.
2. Fluoride Usage
Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay. Regularly using a bit of fluoride mouthwash or additional fluoride supplements aids your fight against white lesions and demineralization. Tooth stains can also be avoided with the application of fluoride varnish.
3. Regular Dental Check-Ups
Regular dental cleaning by your dentist helps reach those hard-to-reach areas and remove calcified plaque. Your dentist can also provide additional cleanings if necessary, suggest changes in your oral hygiene habits, and guide you in the right dental care regimen.
4. Healthy Dietary Habits
Limiting consumption of acidic, sugary drinks and foods and avoiding lactic acid formation in saliva can contribute significantly to maintaining your dental health. Incorporating more teeth-friendly foods, such as fibrous vegetables and dairy products, can also boost overall oral health. These foods can stimulate saliva production, which helps prevent plaque buildup and white spots.
5. Special Treatments
Ask your dentist about various special sealants, antimicrobial agents and treatments like fluoride-releasing sealants, remineralizing creams or even contemporary treatments like biomimetic bonding that can be a beneficial method to prevent and manage white lesions. Regular orthodontic checkups and modifications in treatment plans can also help reduce this common complication of braces treatment.
6. Staying Hydrated
Drinking adequate water is essential as it helps maintain a healthy saliva level. Saliva contains minerals that fight against tooth decay and prevent the formation of white spots. It also helps wash away food particles and sugar stuck between your teeth and braces.
7. Avoiding tobacco and Alcohol
Using tobacco and alcohol can damage your oral health and lead to white spots. These substances lower the pH in your mouth, causing demineralization and cavities. It’s best to avoid these, particularly when wearing braces. Apart from causing white spots, tobacco use and alcohol consumption can also increase the risk for a variety of oral health problems like gum disease and oral cancer, which may further complicate braces treatment.
Are White Spot Lesions Permanent?
No, white spot lesions are not always permanent. When addressed early, these white spots can often be reversed through proper oral hygiene and topical fluoride applications that help to remineralize the tooth enamel. However, if left unchecked and allowed to progress, these lesions can lead to cavities or tooth decay, which may require more extensive dental treatments such as fillings or crowns. Therefore, early detection and treatment are key to preventing permanent damage.
Don’t Let Braces Discoloration Spoil Your Smile: Contact Lake Jeanette Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry Today
While orthodontic braces are instrumental in helping shape that dream smile, caution is advised to prevent potential dental health issues such as white spots on teeth. By following proper oral regimes, embracing healthy dietary habits and regularly consulting with a skilled cosmetic dentist, those wearing braces can fully enjoy the benefits of their treatment for a bright smile and healthier teeth.
If you seek a sparkling, straight and spotless smile, our team at Lake Jeanette Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry is just a call away at (336) 537-5948 to turn your braces discoloration concerns into a healthy smile. A beautiful, straight smile doesn’t stop at braces removal. Keep up with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental care and enjoy lesser chances of tooth decay and the assurance of a bright, attractive smile.