Traditional wire-and-bracket braces are the most effective way to correct many cases of misaligned teeth, especially complicated cases that need to be overseen by an orthodontist like Dr. Song. Orthodontists have many years of specialized training and experience that enable them to create beautiful smiles, no matter how crooked the bite.
Some patients complain that braces can be uncomfortable at times or a wire or bracket occasionally pokes tissue in the mouth. They are embarrassed by having to wear the contraption. And they especially dislike the dietary restrictions and find braces interfere with cleaning their teeth after eating. But at the end of treatment, everyone is happy with their new smile.
However, without careful attention to cleaning, there can be a surprise when the braces are removed: white spots. This is the common result where brushing and flossing around the braces have been inadequate and the food particles that remained attracted bacteria. These feed on the food and then excrete acid, which eats into the enamel, creating these spots. If not prevented or treated, these become cavities (aka dental caries).
How to Clean Around Braces
Brushing and flossing even without braces is not easy to do perfectly. With them, you will need to take more than the two minutes twice a day for brushing that is normal. Use a toothbrush designed for braces and dig underneath the wires, since the bacterial film, called plaque, accumulates between them and the gums. Inspect closely and make sure every foot particle is removed. Use an electric toothbrush every other day to add its power to cleaning all the other surfaces right down to the gum line.
Another way to prevent white spots from beginning is to eat a healthier diet, especially avoiding refined sugar and simple carbohydrates, like white flour, bread, and pasta, which oral bacteria thrive on. Foods that are accommodating to braces include vegetables, whole grains, seeds, beans, and legumes.
How to Treat White Spots
If you do have white spots, you can rebuild the enamel by brushing with a prescription from Dr. Song for a toothpaste that replenishes the calcium and phosphorus, as well as one with extra fluoride, such as Colgate’s PrevDent 5000 Plus. After using these for some months, if white spots remain, she can apply an infiltrating resin that will change the color to appear more like the enamel.
If you are concerned about how effective your brushing and flossing is while wearing braces, call to make an appointment with Dr. Song, orthodontist in Berkeley and El Cerrito.
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