Do Braces Cause White Spots?

There’s a lot to the process of having braces. Once you get them, you have to work hard to take care of them and yourself—or be met with one particularly annoying consequence. Today, Deplanche Orthodontics will answer a key question many people have: Do braces cause white spots? 

The Components of Braces 

Before we get into the causes of white spots, let’s talk about the structure of a traditional set of braces. These can either be metal or ceramic.

    1. Brackets: Braces include small brackets affixed to each tooth using a special adhesive, serving as anchors for other components.
    2. Archwires: Typically crafted from stainless steel or nickel-titanium, these wires connect the brackets and play a crucial role in the alignment process. They exert pressure on the brackets and teeth, gradually shifting them according to the guidance of our doctors.
    3. Bands: Metal rings encircle the back molars, forming part of a traditional orthodontic appliance.
    4. Elastic Ties (O-rings): These bands secure the archwire to the brackets and come in various colors, a popular choice among our children and teenage patients. We typically replace them every 4-6 weeks.
    5. Retainers: Following the active phase of orthodontic treatment, patients often wear clear retainers. These can be either removable or fixed, aiding in maintaining the newly achieved alignment of the teeth.

What Causes White Spots

White spots are called demineralization or decalcification. They can happen to teeth with or without braces, but this appliance tends to leave a distinctive mark, usually quite clearly indicating their presence once they’re removed. Let’s go over the causes of this effect:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate oral hygiene is a common culprit. When braces are on, cleaning around brackets and wires can be challenging. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, accumulates and produces acids that strip minerals from enamel, leaving white spots behind. This buildup can occur without routine brushing and flossing.
  • High Sugar Intake: Consuming sugary or acidic foods and beverages increases your risk of demineralization; bacteria feed on these sugars and produce acid, which directly erodes enamel and causes these problematic spots.
  • Infrequent Check-Ups: Part of your treatment plan will always include regularly visiting Dr. Deplanche for appointments. We are able to identify early signs of demineralization that you probably won’t be aware of and provide preventative measures. If we aren’t around to warn you, it can run rampant! That’s why attendance is absolutely crucial.
  • Excessive Fluoride: This is generally beneficial for dental health, but excessive use of fluoride toothpaste or mouthwashes without proper rinsing can lead to fluorosis, causing white spots.
  • Genetic Factors: Some people might be more vulnerable due to certain genetic factors.

Do Braces Cause White Spots?

Prevention of White Spots

  1. Excellent Hygiene: Brush and floss daily after every meal. Consider using interdental brushes or water flossers to clean between braces if you can’t otherwise manage.
  2. Regular Visits: Allow us to help you monitor your progress and be on the lookout for potential issues by seeing us as scheduled. You should also be vigilant about receiving regular dental cleanings.
  3. Dietary Calcium: Calcium is a substance that is essential for maintaining strong enamel. A supplement or change in diet might be helpful in increasing overall strength.
  4. Diet Adjustment: Avoid too much sugar to fight back against acid attacks. If you do consume sugar, be sure to clean, or at the very least rinse, extra carefully to remove remaining particles. The longer they linger, the worse the results. 

Other Issues

In addition to white spots, here are some possible consequences of being aware of that can emerge due to neglecting your oral health with braces: 

  • Cavities and Gum Disease: These are prevalent conditions that can affect anyone, but the risk may increase when wearing braces or aligners. These orthodontic devices create additional opportunities for bacteria to thrive, leading to decay. Gingivitis may also develop due to inadequate care and irritation from the appliance on your gums.
  • Weakened Teeth: Cavities can undermine the overall integrity of your teeth. This complication may necessitate additional dental work even after completing your orthodontic treatment.
  1. Prolonged Treatment Time: While individual factors contribute to varying treatment timelines, the desire for a swift resolution is universal. The emergence of additional issues can, unfortunately, prolong the overall treatment duration, postponing the anticipated completion date.

Do Braces Cause White Spots?

The Best of Braces

Braces are a huge commitment for many patients, and you want that hard work to pay off. Preventing issues like white spots makes for a truly successful treatment. Our team is here to answer all of your questions and, most importantly, to equip you with the tools you need to avoid this kind of problem! Be sure to contact one of our offices in Beaverton (503) 966-4594) or Lake Oswego (503-699-6569) today!