Decalcification is the loss of calcium in the enamel of teeth resulting in white, chalky marks. This happens quite frequently to patients that wear braces. However, it is not caused by the braces themselves.
Poor oral hygiene is the major cause of decalcification. When food is not removed from around the braces, it mixes with saliva and becomes acidic bacteria. If the bacteria are not removed, it will destroy the nutrients that protect the enamel leaving the teeth susceptible to decalcification and decay. Minor decalcification is reversible by a dentist; however, major decalcification requires dental bonding to correct.
The best prevention of decalcification is good oral hygiene. Brushing thoroughly at least 3 times a day is critical to remove food and bacteria before it can damage the teeth. Rinsing after drinking sugary drinks also helps remove damaging sugars from the mouth and around braces. Flossing daily removes bacteria around the gum line to prevent swelling of the gums which can trap bacteria underneath.
When brushing with braces, it is necessary to tilt the toothbrush so that you can brush between the bracket and the gum while getting underneath the wires. You also want to brush the front of the bracket and the edges or biting surfaces of the teeth. All food and white, fuzzy bacteria must be removed when brushing. If you are unsure that you have removed everything, ask your orthodontist for disclosing tablets. Disclosing tablets will show you the bacteria you left behind after brushing.
Wright Orthodontics instructs each patient how to brush and floss effectively when braces are applied. If you have any questions or concerns about caring or cleaning for your braces ask an assistant or Dr. Marc S. Wright for additional instructions so that you can have a beautiful smile when your braces are completed!