With the increasing number of people undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is essential to understand the potential risks and side effects that may occur, such as white spot lesions on teeth. This article addresses the common concern of white spots on teeth and their possible connection to orthodontic braces.
Here, we will discuss the causes of white spots on teeth and whether or not braces can be attributed to their appearance.
White Spots on Teeth: What Are They?
White spots on teeth, also known as white spot lesions, are areas of demineralization that appear as small, chalky patches on the tooth surface. They are common dental issues and can occur for various reasons, such as poor oral hygiene, excessive fluoride intake, and enamel damage. These white stains (white spots braces) often occur in individuals who wear braces, usually due to difficulty in maintaining proper oral hygiene with the braces on.
What Causes White Spots on Teeth?
Several factors can contribute to the appearance of white spots on teeth, such as:
- Poor Oral Hygiene. Poor oral hygiene is one of the leading causes of white spot lesions on teeth. When plaque and bacteria are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing, they can build up on the tooth surface and eventually lead to demineralization.
- Excessive Fluoride Intake. Fluoride is a mineral that is beneficial for dental health in small amounts and can aid in preventing orthodontic decalcification. However, excessive fluoride intake, either through drinking water or toothpaste, can cause white spots on teeth, which is often suggestive of orthodontic decalcification. This can be a side effect of consuming too much fluoride.
- Enamel Damage. Enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth and serves as a protective barrier. It can lead to white spot lesions when it becomes damaged or weakened. This damage can be caused by acidic foods and drinks, certain medications, and even excessive brushing.
Are White Spots on Teeth Caused by Orthodontic Braces?
The short answer is no. However, braces can contribute to their appearance in some instances.
Many people undergoing orthodontic treatment may experience white spot lesions due to poor oral hygiene. It can be challenging to clean around braces properly, and if plaque and bacteria are left to build up, they can cause demineralization and white spots.
How Can You Prevent White Spots on Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment?
For orthodontic patients, prevention is always better than cure. To minimize the risk of developing white spot lesions while undergoing braces, follow these tips:
1. Oral Hygiene
You must maintain excellent oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth, particularly when wearing braces. These dental devices often trap food, making it necessary to focus on cleaning around them. Consider using a water flosser as a part of your oral hygiene routine. This tool effectively cleans hard-to-reach areas that regular dental floss might miss.
2. Balanced Diet
For overall good dental health, adopting mindful eating habits is particularly crucial. This involves avoiding consuming food and drinks high in acidity, which can harm the enamel. Items such as sugary foods, fizzy beverages like soda, tangy citrus fruits, acidic drinks, and electrolyte-loaded sports drinks are known culprits. Their acidic nature can trigger erosion of the enamel, the tooth’s protective outer layer, leading to potential dental issues. Refraining from these particular consumables or moderating their intake can significantly help preserve enamel health.
3. Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Utilize fluoride toothpaste as an effective measure to boost enamel fortification and stop the demineralization process in your teeth.
Fluoride substances in toothpaste aid in remineralizing your teeth’s enamel, conserving tooth structure, and caries prevention. However, consume it judiciously as excessive use can be detrimental, potentially leading to dental fluorosis. Also, remember not to ingest it.
When swallowed, fluoride may lead to nausea or other potential health concerns. So, use a pea-sized amount while brushing and ensure children do proper brushing under adult supervision to prevent unintentional swallowing.
4. Regular Dental Visits
Ultimately, you must regularly visit your dentist for routine check-ups and dental cleanings. These appointments serve as your first line of defense, helping to identify any early signs of oral health problems like cavities or gum disease. Professional cleanings at a dentist’s office can also help effectively eradicate plaque and tartar buildup—something that a home oral care routine may not achieve completely.
Treatment Options for White Spots on Teeth
If you already have white spot lesions on your teeth, don’t worry. There are treatment options available to improve their appearance. Some common treatments include:
Microabrasion is a dental procedure that involves gently removing a minimal layer of tooth enamel with the help of an abrasive material, often resulting in the considerable enhancement of the tooth’s appearance. It’s typically used as an effective treatment for dental fluorosis – a condition that causes the formation of white spots on the enamel. By removing this stained layer, microabrasion helps reveal a smoother and more aesthetically pleasing tooth surface underneath, thus significantly improving the overall look of the teeth.
In this dental procedure, a tooth-colored resin, matched precisely to the existing shade of your teeth, is skillfully applied to the area affected by discoloration or decay. After careful application, a unique, high-intensity light hardens the resin. The light activates the compounds within the resin, enabling it to bond securely to the tooth.
As a result, the treatment seamlessly blends the unsightly white spot with the surrounding tooth, effectively concealing the flaw and enhancing the overall appearance of your smile.
Professional teeth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure commonly used to lighten discolored teeth. This process can also effectively reduce the visibility of white spots on teeth. Applying a bleaching agent to the teeth alters the surrounding tooth structure’s color, thus making the white spot blend in and become less noticeable.
Orthodontic braces don’t directly cause teeth white spots but can contribute if oral hygiene is neglected. Regular visits to your dentist and good oral hygiene are essential while in treatment. For existing white spots, there are treatments available. Fear of white spots shouldn’t prevent you from improving your smile with braces.
If you’re considering braces and are concerned about white spots, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our team of experienced orthodontists will guide you on maintaining good oral hygiene during treatment and provide the necessary treatments for white spots if needed.