How to Prevent White Spots from Forming with Braces

How to Prevent White Spots from Forming with Braces
Table Of Content

Have you ever noticed small white spots on people's teeth after they've had braces removed? These unsightly markings, known as decalcification or white spot lesions, are unfortunately quite common. But the good news is they are 100% preventable with diligent oral hygiene.

What Causes White Spots?

When you eat or drink anything containing sugar or starch, bacteria in your mouth feast on the leftovers and produce acid as a byproduct. Normally your saliva helps neutralize the acid. But around orthodontic brackets and wires, it's easier for plaque and food particles to get trapped. The acid is then able to sit and eat away at tooth enamel, causing demineralization or decalcification under the bracket.

If left unchecked during treatment, these beginning stages of a cavity can leave permanent white marks on the tooth once the braces come off and the healthy enamel is exposed again. That's why keeping plaque at bay is so important for preventing white spot lesions from forming.

Tips for Preventing White Spots

Dr. John Windhorst, owner of Choice Orthodontics, shares his top tips for preventing decalcification while in braces:

Brush after every meal

Be sure to thoroughly clean all tooth surfaces, including between brackets and under wires, with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.

Floss daily

Flossing is essential for removing food trapped between teeth. Use an orthodontic floss threader or floss holder to reach all areas.

Drink water with snacks

Drinking water after eating helps rinse away food debris and neutralize acid. Avoid sugary drinks which promote decay.

Use fluoride mouthwash or gel

An extra boost of fluoride helps strengthen enamel and make it more resistant to demineralization.

Get regular dental cleanings

Your dentist or hygienist can professionally remove plaque buildup every 3-4 months that you may miss.


How can I remove white spots that have already formed?

For mild decalcification, diligent daily home care and topical fluorides may be enough. More severe cases may require dental treatments like microabrasion or even composite bonding to fully restore the tooth's appearance.

Will white spots go away on their own after braces?

Unfortunately no - once formed, white spot lesions are considered a permanent change in tooth structure unless actively treated. Leaving them untreated could even potentially lead to cavities developing in the decalcified enamel over time.

When should I see my dentist if I'm worried about white spots?

Don't hesitate to schedule an examination with your dentist if you notice any suspicious white marks forming during orthodontic treatment. Catching the beginning stages of decalcification is key to preventing permanent damage. Your orthodontist and dentist can work together on a treatment plan tailored to your individual oral health needs and risk level.

How can I help prevent white spots in my child's teeth during braces treatment?

Establishing good home care habits is especially important for children in braces. Be sure to supervise brushing and flossing until your tween or teen has the dexterity to fully clean on their own. Consider fluoride treatments or gels as well. Open communication with your child's orthodontist and dentist also helps monitor their risk level.

What foods should I avoid while wearing braces?

Sticky or hard foods like caramels, taffy and hard candies can damage brackets or wires and make plaque removal difficult. It's best to avoid these. Also limit snacking between meals as much as possible to prevent cavity-causing acids from lingering in the mouth.

How often should I get my teeth professionally cleaned while in braces?

The general recommendation is every 3-4 months for patients with braces. This allows your hygienist to thoroughly remove any built-up plaque and tartar in areas you may miss at home. Your orthodontist will also check on your overall oral hygiene and make adjustments if needed at these visits.

With proper oral hygiene, daily plaque removal, and routine dental checkups, white spot lesions during orthodontics are very preventable. Don't let the fear of decalcification discourage you from treatment - follow your orthodontist's guidelines and you can successfully guard your beautiful smile. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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