Orthodontic treatment doesn’t have very many risks. For most people, braces provide a beautiful smile and a healthy bite one can enjoy for the rest of his/her life. One of the few potential problems that can occur is completely avoidable but happens much more often than it should.
We are talking about the white marks that can develop on patients’ teeth while they are undergoing orthodontic treatment. These marks are called “white spot lesions” or enamel decalcifications and are not caused by the braces themselves, but rather by acid! You might be wondering how acid is getting into your mouth in the first place.
Acid can be introduced into the mouth by 2 main ways:
- Acidic drinks. Soda and other carbonated drinks contain carbonic acid which gives it that “fizziness”.
- Bacteria on your teeth that eat sugar you put into your mouth. After the bacteria digest the sugars, they excrete acid onto your teeth.
The acid, whether it’s from drinks or from bacteria, causes the enamel to soften and eventually forms a small cavity. So, in order to prevent the white spots from forming, one has to eliminate the acid. There are 3 parts to preventing them from forming:
- Brush away the bacteria from your teeth so they cannot deposit acid on the enamel.
- Reduce the amount of sugar you eat. If the bacteria don’t have sugar they cannot make acid.
- Try to avoid acidic drinks.
The majority of patients do not end up getting white spot lesions, which makes us and the patient happy. We encourage you to follow these 3 steps and to continue seeing your dentist for regular cleanings. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful healthy smile that will last you a lifetime.