White spots on the teeth can be caused by nutrition, genetics, or from excessive intake of fluoride (a condition called fluorosis). There is sometimes very little one can do to avoid these types of white spots. However, good oral hygiene and a healthy diet are the most predictable ways to avoid white spots.
Orthodontic white spot lesions (WSLs) appear as ‘little white cavities’ that can negatively impact the smile you have worked so hard to achieve with braces treatment. The spots are caused by plaque buildup on the teeth, which causes decalcification, or loss of hard minerals. Removing plaque from teeth is important because the bacteria in plaque produce an acid that begins to dissolve the mineralized surface of a tooth. While the risk of getting white spots is greater during braces, white spots can occur without orthodontic treatment in the absence of proper brushing and dental care. Once the spots appear, it is likely they will remain there, as they do not easily disappear and are not completely reversible.
How To Prevent White Spots
• Brush your teeth, especially before bedtime. You do not want plaque to remain around your braces and gum line all night long. Plaque collects underneath wires and around braces.
• Use an Electric Toothbrush. Using an electric toothbrush provides extra vibration which helps loosen plaque. Some companies even make toothbrush heads specifically for braces which can drastically improve the way you brush your teeth.
• Floss regularly to remove plaque and debris between the teeth. While white spots are not as noticeable between the teeth, it can be a problem.
• Preventive use of a prescription fluoride tooth paste or rinse, if indicated, based on your individual needs and brushing habits.
• Reduce intake of acid foods and drinks such as sour candies, vinegar based foods, and acidic drinks such as soda, sports drinks, and lemonade. They increase the risk of developing decalcification or white marks if consumed on a regular basis.
Our goal is to educate all our patients and parents on how good oral hygiene and diet impact your dental health during orthodontic treatment. Contact us today at 203-292-6644.