Braces offer you a way to improve your smile, and when those braces come off, it’s only natural to want to grin as widely as possible. That means your teeth had better look as nice as possible, too. However, a very common side effect can complicate things if you aren’t very careful about how you care for your teeth when you have the braces on. It’s called decalcification, otherwise known as those white spots that appear on your teeth.

Why Decalcification Occurs

Decalcification is the reduction of calcium in your tooth’s enamel at a particular spot. What happened is that some plaque sat in that spot and the bacteria in the plaque produced some acids that reduced the calcium under the plaque. It’s extremely common, especially for people who have had brackets adhered to each tooth.

Reducing or Preventing Decalcification

Your best defense against those white spots is to become very good about maintaining a complete oral care routine. Stick to a strict brushing schedule that does not let you leave food residue on your teeth – you can brush after eating, but wait 30 minutes first because acids from food can make your tooth enamel a little softer and more prone to scratching in the minutes after you eat. Floss regularly, and use an alcohol-free mouthwash, too. And as always, get your teeth cleaned regularly.

What if It Happens Anyway?

Decalcification can happen even if you take fantastic care of your teeth. This is frustrating, but there are options for fixing the white spots either by covering them or making the spots and the rest of your tooth match in color.

These spots may be common, but don’t assume prevention is a lost cause. Dr. Brodie Bowman and his staff in Niceville and Fort Walton Beach can help you choose the right style and teach you how to care for your new orthodontic appliances. Contact us today to book an appointment!