Will Orthodontic Treatment Cause White Marks on my Teeth? Prevention Tips
The most important thing to know about white marks on teeth is that they DO NOT occur with every orthodontic case and are easily preventable through proper oral hygiene.
Here are four simple steps for prevention:
Brush above and below your brackets or attachments 3-4 times a day, including after each meal or snack whether at school, work or home. Using a fluoride toothpaste helps to keep enamel strong.
Floss at least once a day.
Avoid or limit acidic foods anddrinks including soda, flavored waters with carbonation, sweet and iced tea, juices, sports drinks etc. for the duration of your treatment.
See your dentist every 6 months for your check up, or more often if it’s recommended.
A White Mark Is Permanent
A white mark on a tooth – known as decalcification – is like a scar on the tooth surface and is the very beginning of a cavity. As plaque builds up in the mouth, calcium and other minerals leach out tooth enamel and leave a permanent white mark behind. If plaque is continually left behind, the area turns into a cavity. Plaque is made of bacteria, food particles, and saliva. It feeds on sugars and then forms an acid that damages teeth. Poor brushing, frequent snacking and intake of sugary and/or acidic beverages contribute to white marks and decay. The reason some people get white squares on their teeth after braces is because the part of their tooth that is covered by the bracket is protected from plaque and acid. Though, the parts around the brace are susceptible to plaque buildup if not brushed properly leaving the white scaring around the outside of the bracket.
Decalcification Can Happen to Patients Using Invisalign
Patients who drink flavored waters, seltzers, sports drinks, soda, or anything besides plain water with their aligners in puts them at high risk for developing these scars. While the aligners are in, the sugars and acids are held against the tooth surface where the saliva cannot reach them to neutralize the acid and buffer the sugars. Decalcification can also happen if patients do not brush their teeth after meals or brush their aligners nightly, causing food and bacteria left in the aligners to sit on the teeth and break down the enamel.
Decalcification Can Happen Independent of Orthodontic Treatment
Some people get white marks on their teeth without ever having orthodontic treatment. The marks are caused by too much soda, Gatorade, or other acidic drinks, along with poor brushing habits.
For A Happy Ending
Patients who are conscientious about caring for their teeth and who limit sugary, acidic foods and drinks should not develop white marks. Keeping your teeth clean is not hard, it just may be a little time consuming. Your dental health takes a commitment to putting in a little extra time and using the right tools for the job. Our staff is always happy to demonstrate proper techniques or answer any questions regarding caring for your oral health.