What are white spot lesions? They are chalky white stains that can develop during braces as a result of decalcification. Braces do not cause those white spots to develop, bacteria does. Decalcification or demineralization is a loss of the hard minerals on the tooth surface caused by bacteria that has built up around the brackets for too long. The area of the tooth that is covered by a bracket is protected with an air tight seal so it stays the same, the demineralization occurs around the bracket which is why it sometimes appears like a white square.
So, what is the key? PREVENTION is the key.
It’s easy to avoid these white spot lesions during braces…just keep the bacteria away!
How do you keep the bacteria away?
Brush… at least twice a day for at least two minutes at a time. Consider a good electric toothbrush like Sonicare®. A good quality electric brush can make brushing more effective and most of them have timers to tell you when you’ve brushed for the full two minutes.
Floss…though it’s harder to floss with braces on, you must. We will provide you with the tools and instruction you need to floss around your braces. A water flosser can also be an effective tool to clean around orthodontic hardware.
Fluoride…we recommend brushing with a prescription strength toothpaste that has extra fluoride at night. We also paint a fluoride varnish on your teeth prior to bonding the braces.
Regular dental cleanings…it’s important to continue seeing your dentist for regular dental check-ups and cleanings. The dental hygienist can scrape away any plaque and tartar buildup, polish the teeth and also paint on a fluoride varnish.
Diet…avoiding excess sugar and highly acidic drinks (like sodas) can help too.
Some people have white spot lesions on their teeth prior to braces from other causes, however, the ones that develop during braces are 100% preventable. Just follow these simple guidelines to keep your teeth clean in braces. We would hate for anything to distract from your beautiful new smile!