We recognize that the decision to start an orthodontic treatment is big. One common concern from our new Dietrich & Kelso Orthodontics patients is the fear of ending up with multi-colored teeth, or white spots, after treatment. While we understand this worry, we believe this fear should never stand in the way of achieving the smile of your dreams. That’s why we’re here to arm you with knowledge and practical tips to prevent white spots.
But First, What Are White Spots? White spots are decalcified, or weakened, areas on your teeth where minerals, like calcium and phosphate, have been lost. They often appear chalky, white patches and can be a bit of an eyesore on your otherwise shiny smile.
The primary culprit in their production is plaque. This sticky, colorless film of bacteria loves to hang out on your teeth. When you consume sugary or starchy foods and drinks, the bacteria and plaque can create the acids that eat away your tooth enamel. Over time, these attacks can lead to losing minerals from your enamel, resulting in these pesky white spots.
Here’s where orthodontic treatment comes into the picture. Braces, whether metal or clear, create lots of tiny nooks and crannies where plaque can hide, making your teeth more susceptible to white spots. If plaque isn’t thoroughly removed from around the brackets and along the gum line, it can lead to decalcification and, eventually, white spots.
How Do You Prevent White Spots?
Don’t worry; it’s not all doom and gloom with braces and white spots! While white spots can be a concern for those wearing braces, they’re not inevitable. You can maintain a healthy, spot-free smile when straightening your teeth with the proper care and prevention strategies. Here are some of Dietrich & Kelso Orthodontics’ favorite ways to avoid white spots!
1. Master the Art of Brushing
Brushing is your first line of defense against white spots. Brushing twice a day is always recommended, but when you have braces, you should brush (or at least clean your braces) after every meal. These extra brushings help to remove any food particles that might be stuck in your braces and prevent plaque buildup.
2. Floss Like a Boss
Flossing might seem like a chore, especially with braces, but it’s essential in preventing white spots. Floss daily to remove plaque and food debris your toothbrush can’t reach. Special flossers, like water flossers and interproximal toothbrushes, can make flossing with braces more effortless and effective, even when you’re away from home.
3. Regular Dental Check-ups
Regular visits to your dentist or orthodontist are crucial. They monitor your oral health, clean your teeth professionally, and spot any early signs of white spots or other issues. Aim for a check-up every six months or as often as your trusted dentist recommends.
Your dentist can be an excellent resource if you have questions about your routine or need guidance on bettering your oral health. Since white spots are almost always avoidable, having a knowledgeable dentist in your corner is a great advantage.
4. Use Fluoride Products
Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decalcification. The mineral is already in your body, and studies found it to be so helpful in maintaining oral health that it’s been added to all USA tap water!
Some people, however, need more fluoride than that. We recommend adding fluoride toothpaste or fluoride mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine for those patients.
5. Remove Whitening Products From Your Routine
While we all love a bright, white smile, using whitening products when you have braces can lead to uneven color and white spots. The areas under the brackets will remain their original color while the exposed parts of your teeth become whiter. This uneven exposure to the whitening agent can result in a patchy appearance on your teeth when a member of our orthodontic team removes your braces. It’s best to wait until your braces are off before considering any whitening treatments.
6. Watch What You Eat
Your diet plays a significant role in preventing white spots. Limit sugary and starchy foods, as they can contribute to plaque buildup. Instead, choose a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy products. These foods promote overall health and help maintain strong, spot-free teeth.
Let Dietrich & Kelso Orthodontics Erase Your Worries About White Spots!
Preventing white spots is a crucial part of your orthodontic journey. It’s all about maintaining good oral hygiene, making smart dietary choices, and keeping up with dental check-ups.
Remember, we at Dietrich & Kelso Orthodontics are your dedicated oral healthcare team members, and with nine convenient, fully staffed locations, we’re always here for you. Have you got questions or concerns? Ready to schedule your next check-up? Contacting us is as easy as a quick phone call or a few clicks with your mouse! Let’s work together to keep your smile spotless and shining bright!