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Why Are There White Spots on My Teeth After Braces?

It’s the big day! You’re finally getting your braces off. The orthodontist removes your braces and hands you a mirror, and you flash that beautiful new smile — and you see white spots on your teeth. How did that happen? It’s caused by decalcification, which can be caused by poor oral hygiene during treatment. So how do you keep white spots from decalcification from ending up on your teeth? Our professionals at Hentscher-Johnson Orthodontics have some suggestions!

What Is Decalcification? 

Decalcification is when the tooth experiences a loss of calcium in a certain spot. That loss causes a white spot, a precursor to tooth decay. That’s likely where a cavity will form if your teeth aren’t treated properly. In other words, poor hygiene is a big contributor to decalcification. 

This process is sometimes called demineralization because it removes calcium and other minerals from the tooth’s enamel. Whatever name it’s called, the biggest cause is not properly brushing your teeth as often or as long as you should. 

If you don’t brush your teeth properly while wearing braces, you may see white spots when the braces are removed. It’s vital to brush well around the brackets, where food particles can get stuck and become plaque, which leads to tooth decay. 

Decalcification Without Braces 

That said, decalcification can happen even without braces. It can occur if you have clear aligners such as Invisalign or 3M Clarity Aligners or no orthodontic treatment at all. The white spots on your teeth can come from acidic foods and drinks such as citrus fruits and soft drinks. That, combined with poor hygiene, can cause white spots to appear with or without braces. 

You can also get decalcification from other factors. Poor diet, chronic dry mouth, or enamel hypoplasia can also cause decalcification. Enamel hypoplasia is a thinning of the enamel often caused by nutritional deficiencies.

How Do I Prevent White Spots on My Teeth? 

It is possible to prevent white spots on your teeth. It’s fairly simple — brush and floss thoroughly and often. Good oral hygiene is the key to preventing decalcification. Brushing with a high-mineral toothpaste can also help, along with a good, balanced diet. Make sure that diet includes a good amount of calcium, which will help strengthen your bones and teeth! 

Here are the best ways to avoid white spots on your teeth. 

    • Brush and floss often! Brush your teeth at least twice a day, though after every meal is ideal. Don’t forget to floss first! There are floss-threading products available to make flossing easier if you have braces. Use fluoride toothpaste when you brush.
    • Upgrade your toothbrush! If the bristles on your toothbrush are splayed out, it’s time for a new toothbrush or, if you have an electric one, a new toothbrush head. Make sure to use soft bristles only to prevent abrasive damage to your teeth. An electric toothbrush is a great tool for keeping your teeth clean during treatment. 
    • Clean your aligners! White spots don’t just happen with braces. Decalcification with Invisalign or other clear aligners is possible. The solution is not only to maintain good oral hygiene but also to keep your clear aligners clean. 
    • Keep your appointments! Your dentist or orthodontist can spot decalcification early and may be able to treat it before it gets too bad, so be sure to keep your appointments. A regular dental cleaning will also help prevent decalcification. 
    • Watch what you eat and drink! Acidic foods, from citrus to soft drinks, can lead to decalcification. Foods and drinks can also stain your teeth and clear aligners. These include coffee, tea, wine, fruit juices such as grape juice, and certain alcoholic beverages and cocktails. Tobacco can also stain your teeth. 

Take these steps to avoid white spots on your teeth. If you do see one forming, contact Hentscher-Johnson Orthodontics right away. We’ll get you in and see what we can do to stop the decalcification. 

Keep in mind, those white spots are the beginning stages of cavities, so you don’t want to wait if you spot one. You can prevent white spots with good oral hygiene, but if you need help, we’re here for you!  Patients in the Columbia, IL, or Waterloo, IL, areas can start a virtual consult or schedule an appointment to see us about possible white spots.

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