If you have braces, you may have heard that white spots can develop on your teeth while you have them. This is true of some people, but it's completely avoidable if you know what to do about it. Whether you already have white spots or just want to avoid getting them, read on to learn more about this problem.
What The Spots Are
The white spots that are common with orthodontic appliances are actually the beginning of cavities. When you have braces on your teeth, it's easier for plaque to build up above and below the brackets if you're not vigilant about keeping your teeth clean. When those braces come off, there's a clear delineation between where the braces were (and the plaque couldn't get to) and where it's been thriving.
How to Prevent
Since the white spots are simply plaque, you'll be happy to know that it's easy to avoid getting them in the first place. All you need to do to keep yourself from getting white spots on your teeth is to take good care of your teeth and to visit a dentist regularly for cleanings.
Clearly, you should be brushing and flossing every day in order to keep the plaque at bay. If you feel like that's not enough, you can also include a water flosser in your daily routine. Water flossers have been shown to be very effective at blasting away biofilm and plaque that builds up around braces.
You can also ask your orthodontist to take special care to monitor your teeth for any signs of white plaque build-up when you go in for your regular exams and braces adjustments. This will allow you to stop the process before it becomes more serious.
How to Treat
If you've already got white spots, whether or not your braces are off, visiting a dentist can help. Since it's not permanent staining but simply a layer of plaque, your dentist can remove it before it causes further damage. However, if you allow the white spots to be neglected long enough, they will eventually turn into tartar and cause your teeth to decay. This will require more serious dental care and could include drilling to remove the damaged parts of your teeth.
White spots aren't an inevitable part of having braces, so with these steps, you can expect to have perfectly white teeth when your braces are ready to come off. Your local cosmetic dentist can help.